Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Law School Way: Your Ticket to a Meaningful Existence

All too often, we see muckrucking bloggers ignore what I call The Law School Way, those life-affirming, intellectually enriching qualities of legal education and practice that transcend easy obective dismissal and sound like ooey-gooey mushy goodness.  Instead, the simpletons choose to be narrow-minded number zealots who focus on things like being employed and repaying loans, which are not as high up on the pyramid of needs as having a meaning and purpose in life, so they are not as essential.

They simply don't get the unbridled mirth of The Way.

The Wall Street Journal calls this basic approach "provocative" in its discussion of Sherman Clark's latest epistle.  Ah, yes, the Wall Street Journal would think the pursuit of meaningful truth is a provocative proposition.

Anyway, here's Clark, sort of:
“[I]f we are to be thoughtful about the impact of law school on the quality of lives, we must be willing to think at least tentatively about what makes for quality in life,” writes Mr. Clark. “Law school must teach law and lawyering and nothing I say here is meant to deny that law schools above all must provide professional training. Indeed, my claim is that it is the very study of law and lawyering that can develop the capacities and habits of mind that, in turn, can help one wrestle with deeper issues.”
How very Socratic, which is fitting, as legal education is, in many ways, is preparation for dying, if not a direct injection of pure hemlock.

You see, people who don't live The Law School Way have no way of employing critical analysis to the world around them on deep issues of social justice and ethics and the delicate balance between liberty and authority, not to mention the body as a dignified last stop against the abuses of central power and the contours of the intersections of race and gender in post-integration municipal elections.  People who live outside of The Law School Way never find meaning in their lives, for they lack the tools to even comprehend the immense meaning of the things they would do, if only they had a legal education.

This is, of course, why attorneys have incredibly high qualities of life and remarkably low suicide, depression, and substance abuse rates.

Because The Law School Way is a mode of thinking you can only (or primarily) find in America's ABA-accredited hallowed halls, where the mind becomes able to grasp at those deeper issues.  Indeed, Clark himself is so in tuned with greater humanity that he anticipated skepticism towards his self-evident truth/belief that law school is a special and unique provider of the essential tools for finding value in continued life:
“I recognize that framing the question in this way may create some skepticism.”
“But wherever lies a rich and meaningful way of living, and whether it be manifold or one,” Mr. Clark concludes, “we all should agree that it is worth seeking. And we should all agree that what increases our ability and willingness to look for it is of great value indeed.”
Can we not at least agree to this fundamental premise of The Law School Way?  Surely, the debt slaves would be fools to claim they didn't want a meaningful life.  Theirs, of course, involves little more than a callous mountain of cash, but that's still meaning.

And is it not obvious that law school increases one's ability and willingness to seek a meaningful life?  Learning about the precise bounds of personal jurisdiction under federal law is a key slice of pavement on the road towards enlightenment.  Who cares if the rent is late again?  Law school will teach you about the statute of frauds and the commerce clause, which will help the true believer think deeply about events both far and near, from solving the eternal problems in the middle east to figuring out the perfect way to ask whether she's on the pill or not.

You cannot do these things without going to law school.  Take my word for it.  I went, and now I'm a super-brain who lives on an ethereal cloud of hovering silk-covered textbooks where it never rains and everyone appreciates the utter baloney that comes out of my mouth and impeccable grasp of citizenship and ethics.

If you, too, want to live a meaningful life and gain that peace that passes understanding, I encourage you to join our faith in The Law School Way.  We have over 200 locations nationwide, and unlike other churches that constantly pass the plate around, we only ask for a modest tuition fee in exchange for life-altering grace and wisdom.


  1. As I said in my early posts, the "law professor's" main role is to bolster the students' and public's faith in the "higher education" $y$tem. He sees himself as a priest, only he is serving on the alter of the almighty dollar.

    Apparently, these highly-educated pigs are pretending to be stupid. Anyone calling himself a "professor" in advanced Humanities, i.e. law school, should be aware of Maslows hierarchy of needs.

    Hell, safety - which includes security of employment, family, resources, health and property - is second from the bottom of the pyramid. Self-actualization is at the very top, with two layers in between it and safety.

    For the benefit of the law school cockroaches:'s_hierarchy_of_needs.png

    I know business and accounting majors who have a much better understanding of this pyramid than the "law professor" parasites. How in the hell can a recent JD have a sense of safety, when he (a) owes $130K in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt; (b) enters a GLUTTED lawyer job market, and (c) knows that relatively few positions offer long-term stability?!?!

    1. Exactly the triple header and that is why applications are down. To wind up with outrageous debt and its interest for a difficult time securing employment and its undesirable salaries plus it may not last. It is no way to start off life when there are much better avenues to pursue.

  2. Tremendous post, a masterpiece of scamblogging. I read Clark's piece, and could not write a coherent sentence. You can rebut or mock a stupid article, but what can you say to an asphyxiating, enveloping cloud of smugness?

    Sherman J. Clark does acknowledge one problem in legal education: The failure of students to appreciate that their lawprofs are bullying and boring and time-wasting and impoverishing them into a richly nourished inner life.

    From Sherman J. Clarke's article: "I also recognize that many students do not experience law school as something that can nourish one’s inner life; they are more likely to describe law school as soul-crushing than as soul food. In response, first of all, some difficult and demanding work is just part of the process; some of the discomfort students feel in the classroom may be evidence that the process is working. Lung-busting sprints build wind; muscle-exhausting weight lifting builds strength. More to the point, we hardly can expect students to make the most of law school unless they see what it is possible to make of it." Sherman, J. Clark, Journal of Higher Education, 63, NO. 2 235, 236 (2013).

    In a recent interview elsewhere, Clark makes basically the same point, but is less forgiving. He says that a law student's failure to appreciate the greatness of law school is akin to the Superbowl and only paying attention to high snack prices:

    "Some people say that law school is de-humanizing. Some even experience it that way – as being all about exams and pressure and competition. But those who experience law school in that way have so tragically missed the point that I wish they could get another shot at it. It is as if someone went to the Superbowl or a U2 concert and despite the fact that the game or the music was great, they paid attention only to the lines at the restroom and the high snack prices. True, those things may well have been annoying;
    but really – you were at that incredible event and that is what you chose to focus on?"

    1. LOL at the interview comparing it to the Super Bowl or a U2 concert. Had not seen that one.

      "Hey guys, I'm going to the Super Bowl this year."

      "Hey guys, I'm spending three years studying irrelevant law in the hopes of some day working as a 45k attorney with no benefits and a 2k billable quota."

      The article itself is definitely worth a skim - I love the name-dropping of William James and Herman Melville - I just felt there was enough in the WSJ to make the point, and it'd be best to leave the gems of the actual gospel to the true truth-seekers who learned the value of legal scholarship during law school.

  3. I remember being a 1L and desperately wanting to penetrate the mystery of that "rich, meaningful way" that is constantly hinted at by the aura-enshrouded law professors. During the whole first year, I kept thinking that I just needed to understand one more case or write one more memo and while I might not attain the juris-buddhahood of a law professor, I'd certainly be in running for a legal bodhisattva.

    While visiting a 3L immediately before exams I got a dose of reality. I was looking at his book case and my gaze fell on his 3-volume thick Black's Law Dictionary. he followed my gaze and said "Oh that. I never used Black's Law the entire time I've been here except to fuck someone on the kitchen counter."

    1. I'm @ 2:22 above and I just want to clarify that the 3L was standing on Black's Law while the recipient of his sexual attentions was on the kitchen counter.

    2. Now there's a guy who knows how to market his prestigious degree.

    3. that might be the best use of Black's law dictionary ever.

  4. Some of the crap law professors have written over the last few months as the walls come tumbling down is so inane as to be beyond description or parody. That's when I come here or to OTLSS. Well done.