During an appearance on Inside the Actor’s Studio, Tom Hanks was asked what profession he would not like to try. His answer: “A lawyer. That’s doing homework for a living.” I still think that’s the most accurate one-sentence description of the practice of law. Being a lawyer isn’t about soaring rhetoric or intellectual polemics. It’s about organization and attention to detail. It’s about paperwork, really high-level paperwork and research.
If you don’t like doing homework, you’re not going to like going to law school or practicing law. Certainly, if you don’t like doing your own paperwork, you’re going to hate doing it for somebody else. So when tipsters alerted us to this guy from Craigslist who is trying to hire someone to help him with the boring paperwork of applying to law school, I just wonder which episode of Suits made him think that he’d make a good lawyer….
This Craigslist ad is ridiculous on every possible level: the concept is ridiculous, the execution is poor, the expectations are unrealistic and stupid. The fact this guy even wants to go to law school — and will probably be able to get into one — is illustrative of the incredible gap between what people think lawyers do and what they actually do. Let’s take a look at the full scope of his ridiculous requests:
So. Many Questions. Why nine law schools, why has he only left himself a few weeks to do this, why does he need someone who went to law school seven years ago, is he insane, why am I assuming it’s a “he,” which law schools is he applying to, and if he gets dinged, will he sue the person dumb enough to help him?
But the fundamental idiocy is that he expects someone else to assist him in “research, essay writing, obtaining all documents, proper submission, personal statement etc.” How in the hell does this guy think he will succeed in law school (to say nothing of the actual practice of law) if he can’t even handle his own research, writing, and document procurement? This is like a guy applying to culinary school who wants to hire a cook to prepare his meals.
Applying to law school isn’t even that hard! It should be much harder. Instead, all you have to do is take a test, fill out some forms, and hit “submit.” If you can’t figure out how to do that, then you have no business being a lawyer.
I’d bet all the money in my pocket that if you asked this guy what lawyer skills he thinks he has, he’d answer, “I’m really good at arguing.” So starts the journey of most failed lawyers. This guy probably thinks that his skills as an interlocutor are special (they’re not, I promise you they’re not), and that “clerical” tasks (LIKE RESEARCH AND WRITING) are beneath his law-talkin’ awesomeness.
I hate this guy, or at least what he represents. I mean, I also probably really do hate him personally: “I am a Ucla and Gorgetown Graduate with high expectations and exceptional work ethic.”??? Go f**k yourself, dude. Go f**k yourself right in your work ethic with a dildo made from your own expectations. YOU CAN’T EVEN SPELL GEORGETOWN RIGHT. If you graduated from Georgetown then I’m the King of Prussia.
But yeah, what he represents is the sum total of generations of small-screen and silver-screen depictions of lawyers that have nothing to do with the actual practice of law. He represents a paperwork-free idealization of law that is as much about reality as Pacific Rim.
Of course, he’s probably going to get into law school somewhere. Can you believe that? Med schools have ways of screening out people who think being a doctor is like a very special episode of Grey’s Anatomy — it’s called Organic Chemistry. In law, we have no way of stopping this guy or even recognizing this guy when we see him. Some law school is going to admit him and happily take his taxpayer-guaranteed loan money.
Can we at least agree, between us, that nobody here will help him? We can’t stop or save everybody, but there’s no reason anybody here should have the sick need to usher him into his own destruction. It’s like not giving a homeless man a dollar on the subway, not because you hate homeless people or don’t have the dollar, but because you don’t want to encourage the behavior.