Monday, August 10, 2015

You Too Can Pay $100,000+ for a Degree You Will Use for Three Years!

This is a serious question, but I wonder what goes through the mind of people that pay for a law degree, sit for the bar, and then decide after three years that they're going to open an Etsy store and sell shabby chic wall decorations.

I know that some people do that out of necessity because they made $3 as an attorney after deducting the expense of having a research data base, ProDoc, business cards, attending CLE, paying bar dues, and having an office space.  Heck, many might make more money by putting boxes of AMWAY and Scentsy for sale in the lobby.

Monday, July 27, 2015

I'm Moving!

To where and to do what?  Hmmm.....

But let me share with you, dear reader, a plea, while I am going through my things.

My place is a graveyard.  I don't know if this has happened to anybody else out there, but I have uncovered things that don't belong to me that I never wanted in the first place:


I am annoyed when people give me books that I have shown no interest in and expect me to read them.  

I am even more annoyed when I tell them that I will not have time to read the book and they insist that I read it anyway.

I am even more annoyed than this when I tell them that I will probably lose the book and they insist I take it home.

This is not because I'm a hoarder.  It's because I try to keep the item separate from my things so that I do not accidentally shelve them or mistake them as my own, but then it inevitably starts running with the wrong crowd: clutter.  One day, it becomes sandwiched in between enough clutter that it is stuck on top of my desk. 

Then, like dust, other little pieces of clutter start falling on top of it.  

A year later, it's time to sort and shred, and suddenly, I've uncovered a book that I have not read and I can't figure out how to give back to that person without them asking what I thought about it.

You see, I am not a thief.  I have reached the threshold where I recognize the pattern after it happened once or twice that I can give a full and accurate fortune telling account of what will happen to your book.  I think now that I have to actually move into something more drastic such as waiting until their back is turned, hiding it under their couch, and pretending like I put the book in my purse when I leave.  That way, when they move, they'll move their couch and find this mysterious book lying underneath it.

But why don't I just refuse the book to begin with?

In one case, the woman became quite whiney when I wouldn't accept the book.  It was about endangered tigers or something to that effect, and I'm not even sure she would have cared that much except that she was trying to ingratiate herself upon me because of my lawyerly resources.  That book subsequently became jumbled around in backseat clutter of my car.

Another book was loaned to me by another crazy woman.  This one was eaten by my desk and I had completely forgotten about it.  I was a good friend of hers at the time and this was accepted out of friendship even though I had also told her that I probably wouldn't read it.

Not all things that are lost are books, however.  I lost a DVD once about artsy fartsy things, so this was not something one can buy at Best Buy for $5.  A woman loaned the DVD to me after someone else borrowed it, and it turned out that the previous borrower had failed to put the DVD back in the case.  The previous borrower gave the DVD to me about a week later, but I didn't have the case in my possession.  I told the woman that let me borrow it that I would probably lose it, and it turned out that I was partially correct.  I went into a cleaning frenzy and did not recognize the disc and threw it away, thinking it was some old junk garage band CD I picked up once in my youth.  No, it turned out that this is a $30.00 DVD that can only be purchased from the artist's website.  The honest thing to do is to buy a replacement even though I could not imagine this woman ever watching this DVD ever again.  However, it makes me appreciate the benevolence of the junk piles because they hold and protect these sorts of things from my own stupidity.  I swear that I racked my brain trying to figure out why I had this disc, but I could not remember until long after the garbage collectors came.

However, I have resolved that before I move that I'm going to have a mailing party where I'm going to mail things to people so that they can't quiz me if I liked the book.  Thank god for media mail rates.  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Greed will come back to haunt you

Not even I could have predicted this outcome.  

Between the day that I was first enrolled in law school and today, the price of tuition has jumped about $400.00 per semester hour.  It already started climbing quite a bit when I was there, and the attitude of certain individuals was that the market could bear that price.  This person viewed it the same as if you wanted to buy an autographed football or an original Warhol.  After all, a law degree works in exactly the same way.  You shell out $100,000.00 and voila!  You are an attorney.

However, I have recently discovered something interesting.

The bar passage rate went down in the ensuing years.

That was the first clue that something was going wrong, and so I looked at the admission stats and found out that the median LSAT scores for the current class are also lower than when I attended.

Some people might have theories about why this has occurred, but let me tell you speak the truth on this matter and say that if you aren't Harvard or Yale law, there is a point where a so-so candidate (which is what my school was already attracting) is going to look at the price tag versus the employment prospects and run like the wind and just not attend law school all together.  The majority of people left are the ones that are too dumb to do the math, people whose post-undergrad job prospects are already crap, people who don't want to go into the real world, dreamers, and people that view law school as some sort of finishing school where they can kill another 3+ years (usually more than the standard three because they usually end up flunking quite a bit) before they go work at the family business.

Naturally, this doesn't mean that if a person falls into one of the above categories that they must necessarily have worse GPAs and LSAT scores, but consider this:

If, the overall experience of going to law school was--oh, let's say--about $30,000.00 cheaper than what it is now, and the employment prospects afterwards were better, the school would have a larger pool of competitive candidates.  This doesn't necessarily mean that they are competitive to the point that they would have been accepted at better schools.  Instead, their profiles mean that they would be better candidates for keeping up with the coursework and passing the bar afterward.  However, the slightly more competitive candidates have better employment prospects and better graduate school options.  Plus, they are apparently smarter at crunching the numbers and keeping up with current events to where they realize that even if they do graduate with a law degree that the worst of it is still yet to come.  

Unlike medical school that has residency programs, you are on your own unless you are connected or find a job afterward.  If you cannot find a generous individual to mentor you, then you have flushed thousands down the tube.  A few years ago, these people would have been absorbed into the public sector or legal aid, but those prospects are GONE.

Therefore, while there are still going to be a few dreamers and people who think they can do this if someone gave them a shot, one cannot help but think that if the school is attracting people who are not worried about their debt load and employment prospects at the end of the day that this is also playing out in the end result because they probably are not going to study that hard when it comes time to take the bar.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dear Law School....

You have found my new land line number somehow and have started calling and asking for donations.  I seriously don't know how you did it and frankly it is a bit creepy because I get creditor phone calls for people that used to have this number before I did and the creditors have no clue that their quarry has moved on.  If you can, please call the collection agencies and tell them that David Cruz no longer has this number, thanks.

I've had a chance to compare my legal skills to laypeople and other lawyers recently, and I recall how things were when I was a 1L.  It takes me back to those heady days where even I racked my brain and likely spit out wrong answers 4/5ths of the time.  That was a blast!  Oh, if only the public knew how the most basic and common sense beliefs are turned on their heads for the sake of making us study an ungodly amount of hours.  Oh gee, what happens when a person buys blue widgets and receives pink widgets?  I can stand in line at the return counter or keep them.  In the course materials, these scenarios are sometimes depicted with drawings or with fact patterns.  Again, I am sure that the public that pays lots of money for these services would feel better knowing that their attorney received training via cartoon drawings and flash cards.

I didn't learn anything in that environment except for the basics on how to pass the bar.  Thanks to the real life work experience I've had, I can now "think like a lawyer."  If only I could point to something and proudly say, "Professor Such'n'such told me how to solve it this way!"  But no.  I think of the practicing attorneys, judges, my job, and the non-attorney coworkers who taught me how to approach problems and solve them.

Thank you, again.  I realize that it isn't your fault because law school was created to be a barrier to keep people from practicing law, not for getting people ready to do their jobs.  I should commend you for fulfilling your niche in this assembly line through the lack of useful information to the point that I could not even file a lawsuit in JP court without receiving assistance from the clerks if I wanted to, as well as the sheer expense of attending.