Join the Lawyer Corps,|or Perhaps Not

     Is law school attendance a disease?
     Give this some thought before answering.
     Consider gambling addiction. People with that disease think they’re going to make a lot of money and end up losing a lot of money.
     People going to law school think they’re going to make a living and end up under a huge pile of debt.
     See what I mean?
     Law school may be an undiagnosed pathology (though I guess it isn’t because I just diagnosed it).
     The disease has become so widespread that The New York Times last week ran a lengthy story on law students who run up six-figure debt they may never be able to repay. Many of them, after losing all that law school/casino money, can’t get jobs as lawyers or even pass a bar exam.
     There’s something wrong with this picture.
     Part of the problem is that law schools are admitting less-qualified students, and according to the Times article, giving scholarships to good students that are, in effect, paid for by lousy students.
     The only possible happy ending here is if the good students represent the lousy students in class actions against the schools.
     Or maybe in bankruptcy court.
     But you can’t put all the blame on the schools. After all, you would think that a student smart and ambitious enough to apply to law school might run the numbers in his or her head.
     Why does this not compute?
     Obviously, because it’s a disease. Law schools are contagious and must be avoided by impressionable young people, if at all possible.
     If exposure can’t be avoided, I suggest inoculation. Any young person who hasn’t decided on a career should be forced to sit through a lecture on fee tails and covenants running with the land and then be billed $1,000 for the session.
     That should cure almost anyone.
     But what about those who do incur or already have incurred that six-figure debt?
     Fleeing the country is a good option, but not everyone will be willing to do that. And there may not be many countries willing to take in lawyers.
     The best solution is to get rich quick. This can take the form of winning a lottery, owning a stakes-winning racehorse, or earning a substantial fee as counsel in a nationwide class action.
     There are those who say that the best solution is strict law school control or at the very least background checks before anyone is allowed to enroll. We already have a glut on mentally unstable lawyers we don’t need any more.
     But the powerful law school lobby insists that it’s law students who run up huge debts, not law schools. Any man or woman who needs to protect a home with the threat of litigation or hunt tortfeasors to be able to buy food should have that right.
     That may or may not be true, but let’s at least do something for the victims of law school financial violence.
     There’s one other option if we can just get legislators to act: public service in exchange for wiping out the debt.
     The Lawyer Corps can be put to work building roads, inspecting bridges, and analyzing budgets.
     Unemployed lawyers do some good for their country, dig out of their financial holes, and learn some skills that can be put to use actually making a living.
     And if some (or all) of them are bad at their Lawyer Corps work, they can be sued by other unemployed lawyers.
     America can once again be the land of opportunity.

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