Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

A fool and his money are soon parted

By: David Ziemer, [email protected]//January 24, 2011//

A fool and his money are soon parted

By: David Ziemer, [email protected]//January 24, 2011//

Listen to this article
David Ziemer
David Ziemer

The key to remaining young at heart, I believe, is to find amusement in human stupidity, rather than defaulting to furious.

I think I’ve done fairly well by that metric. But it is awfully hard sometimes. Consider an article in the Jan. 8 issue of The New York Times by David Segal, entitled “Is Law School a Losing Game?”

The thesis of this awful piece of drivel is that law school is “three-card monte, with law schools flipping the aces and a long line of eager players, most wagering borrowed cash, in a contest that few of them can win.”

Exhibit A in the article is a recent law school grad who has more than $250,000 in student loans and can’t find a job.

It’s apparent why from reading the article. Exhibit A went to some fourth-rate law school called Thomas Jefferson because it was in San Diego, and he thought he’d like the weather. He ran up additional debt during school to spend a month in the South of France and another in Prague.

Then Exhibit A went back to New York to look for a job. I don’t know about you, but if I was a sole practitioner here in Milwaukee, looking to hire an associate, I am not going to hire someone from beach bum law school in San Diego. Does anyone really think that a hiring partner at some high-paying firm in New York would?

Exhibit A didn’t learn anything in law school, either. Listen to this: “Sometimes the banks will threaten to sue,” he says, “but one of the first things you learn in law school, in civil procedure class, is that it doesn’t make sense to sue someone who doesn’t have anything.”

Listen, jackwagon – I took civil procedure in law school. I teach CLE courses on new developments in civil procedure to lawyers who wouldn’t give you the time of day. I find civil procedure wonderfully thrilling. But at no point in civil procedure did I or anyone else learn that you can’t get blood from a turnip. You learn that the first time you loan money to a drug addict.

Had the Times article been written by a person with even a modicum of perception, he’d have written an entertaining article, using Exhibit A to demonstrate human folly (in short, what I’m doing here). But instead, the thesis of the article is that somehow the law schools are at fault, because they lie to prospective students about the job prospects of their graduates.

I’m sure they do. But it is not as if this is news. It’s been common knowledge for years that graduates of fourth-rate law schools have few options.

Yet, the author apparently expects us to pity someone who ignored these warnings and nevertheless incurred massive debt to attend one.

As readers of the Wisconsin Law Journal, you are all more sophisticated than the naïve readers of the Times, so I don’t need to explain how real life works to you; but I’m going to do it anyway, lest someone pondering law school comes across this column.

You sign up for the LSAT, you study for it, and you take the test. If you do well enough to get into a good law school, you go. Then, you work very, very hard.

If you do not do well on the test, or if you’d rather play beach blanket bingo in San Diego or the Riviera than study hard, then you find something else to do with your life.

Yet the Times apparently thinks I should feel sorry for those who don’t understand this.

Sorry. I am not Mr. T, and I do not pity the fool.

At least Exhibit A’s girlfriend doesn’t seem to mind. According to the article, “she hopes that he does not wind up in one of those time-gobbling corporate law jobs,” because “We like hanging out together.” Well, la-di-da.

There is one sensible person quoted in the Times article – Indiana University law professor William Henderson, who says that to solve the problem, a bunch of lower-tier law schools will need to close.

The American Bar Association has other ideas, though A majority of the members of a special ABA committee studying this problem wants the ABA to drop its requirement that accredited law schools require applicants to take the LSAT.

As if there aren’t enough fourth-rate law schools in this country, they think we need some fifth-rate ones.

I am not amused. As Tom Smykowski asks in the movie “Office Space,” “What the Hell is wrong with you people?”


Should additional funding and resources be given to the Secret Service?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Legal News

See All Legal News

Case Digests

Sea all WLJ People

Opinion Digests