10 Reasons Why You Should Go to Law School
written March 17, 2010
1: You hate your freedom.
Guys like to joke around by calling each othersí wives and girlfriends the old "ball and chain." And some guys arenít joking when they do this. Regardless, these guys actually have it very lucky, because with that ball and chain you still have quite a range of freedom. For example, you can have sex with your ball and chain. When you disagree with your ball and chain, you can argue with it, and you can raise your voice at it. You can tell your ball and chain that it has gotten fat and make it cry. When it defies all logic and reason--or worse, forgets to cook you dinner--you can beat your ball and chain to help it learn from its mistakes. Or if thatís not an option, you can spend time away from it mentally. For example, when your ball and chain is droning on, trying to tell you what to do and how to think, you can tune it out and think about other things, like sports, or sex with your ball and chainís hotter sister. See, freedom is about options, and you still have options. In law school, you do not have these options.
Your stack of casebooks is your ball and chain, and the differences abound. You are confined to it both physically and mentally, but you can't have sex with it. When you want to get away, you can't distract it with food, shiny objects, or empty promises of love and affection. When it tells you how to think, you not only have to listen, but you have to obey. In the first semester alone, you must numb your mind with 5,000+ pages worth of arcane mind-vomit that has been handed down from a bunch of very detached elitists. When this ball and chain says something you disagree with, you cannot argue with it. You cannot yell at it, and you cannot make it cry. You canít even beat sense into it. Rather, you must look at its ugly innards for hours a day, and when it drones on monotonously, you must pay close attention. You are forced to accept its words which have been unilaterally immortalized into the structure of our government and society. And you must sheepishly accept them as "reasonable" and "intelligent." Indeed, you are a prisoner. And whatís worse? You paid for your sentence.
2: You donít want to make a difference in the world.
Iím embarrassed to make this public, but hereís a misguided little gem from my law school application essay. "I was attracted to law because it is a field that is concrete yet dynamic, and most importantly, something that is inherently pervasive in the social and political realm." Damn, thatís sad.
A surprising number of people go to law school for the simple reason that they think it provides a magical piece of paper that will give them the power to make a difference in the world. There are few ways to waste money more naÔve than this.
I know what youíre thinking: "But you can do so much with a law degree!" If I got a nickel for every time some ignorant asshole indiscriminately spouted off that statement without any supporting facts, Iíd have enough money to pay the outrageous tuition of every person reading this. Nobody ever specifies all those versatile things they claim a law degree can be used for. Besides wiping your ass and making paper airplanes, what exactly can you do with a law degree? Are you going to change the world? Help people? Get your head out of your ass. When was the last time you heard of someone using their legal prowess to make the world a better place? No politicians come to mind? Lawyers? Come on, thereís got to be some. Oh wait... there arenít any.
Trying to make a difference in the world with a law degree is like trying to make a difference in a nuclear war with a squirt gun. If you want to make a difference in the world, you need to connect with a large amount of people on an individual, emotional level, not by unilaterally imposing rigidity through rules and regulations. And definitely not by tap-dancing around the proverbial red tape, cleaning up messes that shouldnít have been made in the first place, and doing what amounts to glorified paper pushing. So instead of studying how to interpret often arcane and nonsensical laws, do something that creates value for the individual, something that improves them for the better. Laws, whether you like to admit it or not, are nothing but tools of restriction and oppression that breed opposition and resentment. People are best influenced on a micro level, not a macro level.
Ghandi had a law degree and changed the lives of millions of people; this is true. But he didnít use his law degree to do it. He used original ideas and appealed to the emotions of the masses. He touched the lives of individuals. If you look at all the people who really made things happen, they didnít use any formal schooling to do it. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, the Google geniuses, and the creator of facebook--college dropouts. Al Gore with his global warming shtick--law school dropout. Countless musicians, authors, and other artists who have had an actual influence on people either dropped out or never attended any "institution of higher education." They all used highly underappreciated concepts, like originality, creation of actual value, and emotional appeal.
The bottom line is this: you can do more with the three years, money, and effort it takes to get that overinflated piece of paper than you can with the degree itself. Start a business doing something you enjoy. Create value that benefits other people. Write a book on something youíre passionate about. Spend time with and help people you care about. Work hard and save money so you can travel and see the world. Or in the alternative, you can become a sheep, waste a large percentage of your remaining years of youth, and complacently rack up a lifetime of debt while getting a jump start on the aging process with all the worry and stress you take on in law school. Life is comprised of time, and time is limited. Ditch that shit.
3: You hate money.
You just spent ±$150,000 on a worthless undergrad degree, so why not spend another ±$150,000 on an increasingly diluted professional degree? Youíre jumping out of the frying pan of an unmarketable major and into the fire of an oversaturated field of study. That makes perfect sense. Oh, I guess I forgot to mention the starting salaries of law school graduates are in the six figure range. That is if you went to an Ivy League school, graduated at the top of your class, and had some connections. Otherwise you come out making just as much as you would by waiting tables or shoveling coal, both of which you donít need a fancy degree for. Go chase that beautiful butterfly.
"But people with degrees earn an average of $1,000,000 more in their lifetime than people without degrees!" Letís see... spend seven years investing ±$300,000 followed by 30+ years digging yourself out of that debt to maybe earn $700,000 more by the time youíre what, 55 or older? If we ignore things like inflation, compound interest, and time value of money, that almost has a fighting chance at making a little bit of sense. Not.
In the book The Truth About Money, Ric Edelman gives a great example and explanation of why working and saving now is more lucrative than investing time and money in a degree to earn a lot more later. I wonít repeat the whole thing because you should really read the book, which is full of insight. Don't be an idiot. Buy the book. Now. You can thank me later.
4: You like listening to gossip.
Imagine you live in a society where everyone believes everything they hear. Oh wait, thatís called America. Whatever. Imagine theyíre all sex addicts and don't think before they talk. Wait, still America. Force them all to spend a lot of time around each other. Thatís what law school is like, except worse.
Imagine a swarm of mosquitoes constantly buzzing in your ear, except the mosquitoes are your classmates, and the buzzing is a never ending update of whoís sleeping with whom and what all the other mosquitoes are saying about it. Thatís what law school is like, except worse. These mosquitoes donít just give you diseases; they also give you nagging headaches and reasons to ponder the benefits of going postal.
Remember high school? Take that, but increase the hormone activity from "shy pubescent" to "nearing my prime and courting for marriage." Add tons of pent up stress and throw in lots of extra alcohol. Now shrink the size of the group from "I can be a quiet face in the crowd" to "I canít take a piss without spraying someoneís ankles." Finally, take off everyoneís bullshit filter and throw in even more alcohol. Thatís what law school is, except worse.
5: You want to become, be considered, or already are pretentious.
This is probably the single most intolerable aspect of law school--the people who are supposed to be students of logic and reason think theyíve already got it all figured out. When three or more law students congregate in the same area, the conceit clogging the air makes it almost impossible to breathe. If I got a nickel for every time some self-righteous, know-it-all law student started spouting off their ego driven ignorance, I could feed Star Jones for life. Instead, I get even more reasons to add to my ever growing list of reasons to hate people.
6: You like tedious, meaningless work.
If you havenít gotten the point by now that law school and legal work is nothing but boring, tedious, and ultimately futile work, then you should definitely apply. Nobody in law school understands things after the first five repetitions either. Youíll fit right in.
7: You like the show Law and Order.
If you think being an attorney is anything like the show Law and Order, then you are probably far too naÔve and impressionable to convince otherwise. Trying to help you think for yourself and figure out what it is you really want in life, as opposed to what everybody else says you should do, is a hopeless cause. Stop reading now and go back to watching The Good Wife.
8: You like working with idiots.
Birds of a feather flock together. Apply.
9: Youíre good at arguing.
This is another extremely common yet misguided reason for applying to law school. Here's a little known fact that might save you $200,000: Mastery of law has little to do with the ability to argue. Itís all about reading comprehension, attention to detail, ability to analyze and write coherently, and memory. Just because mom and dad say youíre good at arguing doesnít mean you will be able to interpret obscure reasoning and give competent legal counsel. Go join the debate team. Better yet, play in traffic. The ability to argue will help you excel in law like the ability to fart will get you laid. Get your head out of your ass.
10: Youíre averse to a life of happiness.
If you look at any study on job satisfaction, you will find doctors and lawyers at the top of the list every time. Right up there with ditch-diggers and shit-shovelers.
Imagine youíre getting your stool pushed in by a giant gorilla with AIDS. Thatís what law school is like, except worse.
- The Reality of Law School
- How Not to Make Friends
- Why We Need Tort Reform
- Where Atheists Fall Short
- Boiling Frog Syndrome
- This is what stupid looks like
- Advice for horny muslims