Ann Althouse was a law student once. (Photo by Richard Lawrence Cohen.)

We spend a lot of time telling prospective law students to carefully consider the decision to go to law school. And still they come. We tell prospective law students that law school is expensive and the job market is weak. But still they come, in record numbers.

What makes them come? NPR did a story on the difficult job market for recent college graduates. The article tells us about Hawaii college graduate Ryan Kam’s considered rationale for going to law school.

It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s downright pathetic…

It’s amazing how college-educated people can put so little thought (and even less research) into their future:

He plans to leave for New York in August and work for a year, save some money and then escape the rough job market by applying to law school.

“As far as I’m concerned, evading the real world for a little bit is not a bad idea, especially with the current economic climate,” Kam says. “Law school is a great way to kill time.”

What can you say to that? Put aside the six figures of debt he could be getting himself into. The article says that he graduated from college, debt free, because his grandmother helped pay for college. Maybe she’ll be happy to pay for his legal education as well.

But why would you make a major career decision on the basis of “kill[ing] time”? For the rest of his life, he’ll be typecast as a lawyer, whether he likes it or not. Does he like the law? Does he even know what it is?

Oh wait, I’m sorry, he has another justification for coming to New York:

He has another reason to move: His girlfriend lives in New York.

You know what is really sad? Nobody says “I’m going to go to medical school to kill some time and evade the real world for a bit.” See, nobody thinks medical school is easy — and nobody thinks being a doctor is easy.

But people do think that going to law school is easy and being a practicing attorney is a breeze. There’s just no respect for the skill of the profession.

It’s one thing for the general public to think that being a lawyer is easy — but you’d think that somebody who was actually planning on going to law school would at least do a little research before committing three years of his life to something.

I mean, it’s pretty easy to kill a man, and I’m sure being lethal has benefits in lots of areas of life. But you wouldn’t sign up for U.S. Army training without having at least a basic understanding of what soldiers do and what challenges soldiers are likely to face. Boot camp isn’t something you do to “kill time.”

Neither is law school. Does Ryan Kam have any friends? Could somebody talk to him and encourage him to at least think about his own life? Law school ultimately might be the right decision for him, but as of now it seems he doesn’t have a damn clue.

Dreaming Of New York, Hawaii Grad Heads East [NPR]

Earlier: Most. LSATs. Ever.
The Hubris of Would-Be Lawyers

Photo by Richard Lawrence Cohen (via Ann Althouse).


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