California, Law Schools, Reader Polls, Texas

The Decision: Georgetown v. Texas v. UCLA — An ATL Debate

ELIE MYSTAL

I mean, see, this is the part where I start screaming about people being freaking idiots, and then they get all defensive and stuff and say, “I’m not an idiot, you’re an idiot, you debt-dodging walrus,” and then three years later, they say, “Man, I wish somebody had told me [everything I’m about to tell him] before I went to law school.”

Before I get to the specific questions, let me say this: if you can’t tell me whether or not you want to live and probably work in D.C., Los Angeles, or Texas, then you have not thought this through. Those are three vastly different parts of the country with extremely different cultures. And you can’t choose? Christ on a map, you gave us a thousand words on your “plan” and your considerations, but you haven’t factored in whether you’d like living in a place like Austin more or less than places like D.C. or LA?

When you wake up in five years as a miserable shell of a man, know that it’s your own fault for never asking this question, in the course of making important life decisions: “What makes me happy?”

In any event:

Which of these law schools should I attend?

My God, is that the wrong question. See. Freaking. Above.

But I’ll answer the question you are not asking, and tell you to go to UCLA. Because girls are hotter there. Go to UCLA. Unless you are black, in which case you should go to D.C. and make money on the side as a tour guide into the demilitarized zone where black people live in that city. But if you are a girl, you should go to Austin, because if you are pretty, you’ll fit in, and if you are ugly, you can still live your life without people trying to perform stealth plastic surgery on you while you sleep.

Given that I have a plan and a little experience, what would you suggest that I do now to make myself more marketable (besides grades, law review, moot court, etc.)?

Does your plan include meeting people and engaging in normal human interaction? If not, I’d work on that. I’d work on my social skills. It’s not what you know, but who you know, and how many people who know you secretly want to kill you because you piss them off at every turn.

Do you believe the job market will pick up in a few years?

No. As long as nobody stops the influx of new lawyers while American clients can purchase legal services on a global market, the prospects for young, inexperienced attorneys will remain challenging. Instead of praying for a Romney-led resurgence in which rich people have all the money and some of it trickles down to their Indian lawyers and the five white guys who reap those profits, you should prepare for a pedestrian, Obama-infused recovery, where the legal work of the future involves asking the Supreme Court permission before the president and Congress are allowed to fix our problems.

With the schools I have mentioned, do you think it’s best to try and re-take the LSAT to try and get into a better university?

That’s a legitimate question, and you seem like exactly the kind of gunner who would retake the entire test to turn his 169 into a 173 and try to take another run at the Penn/Duke tier. Maybe you stupidly gave away points on the logic games section (the only part of the test where all the information you need to answer the question is helpfully included in the actual question).

Given that you seem to have no independent grounding in the normal human course of events that would lead a person to move to one city versus another, perhaps taking the test again and trying to turn UCLA into Berkeley is as close to a rational decision as you are capable of at this time in your life.

But if you really want my advice, I’d tell you to stop obsessing about how to build yourself into the perfect little lawyer drone, and spend a little extra time thinking about the things that are actually important in this life. What do you want to do when you are not busy being a hotshot attorney handling the IPO of the next Facebook?

I think that if you consider yourself as a person and not a transcript, you’ll find that you’ve already placed into law schools that will help you attain your professional goals, and now is the time to make sure your personal life is rich and full and well-balanced.

Look, you’re clearly not one of these idiots who plunks down six figures and three years without a thought about the long-term viability of their career. That’s good for you, and commendable. But calm down. Things will be alright, you just have to figure out who you want to be as a person, and let that be your guide to your next professional step.

Readers, what do you think?

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Earlier: The Decision: Harvard v. Yale — An ATL Debate

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