Monday, May 30, 2016

Northeastern Graduates Ready to Leave Mark on Legal Profession

Graduation ceremonies are a lot like a great swinger's party.  It's air-conditioned, a decent spread for when you're done fucking around, and everyone leaves happy.

Northeastern recently graduated a new class of lawyers, and it's hard to hide the optimistic ecstasy:
No matter what you do after today, as long as you leverage the knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence that you worked hard to gain here at North­eastern and remember to bring your common sense and your humanity every day, no matter what you do, you will be great and you will make a dif­fer­ence,” [Sanofi senior vice president and Northeastern alumna Tracey] McCain said.
[Dean Jeremy Paul:] “In short, you came to North­eastern because you wanted to make a dif­fer­ence, and you are already doing so.”
Law pro­fessor Daniel Medwed deliv­ered the fac­ulty address, and he invited retiring pro­fessor Stephen Subrin to join him on stage to share the moment.  They deliv­ered the address as a Q&A to each other. Subrin asked Medwed what dif­fer­en­ti­ates North­eastern law stu­dents, and Medwed said they were nimble, resourceful, resilient, and com­mitted to team­work and collaboration.
Unfortunately, I'm not able to find a transcript of the Q&A.  I'm also not looking for one, but it's clear I'm going to have to create my own.

Q:  When you say "leverage the knowledge" gained at Northeastern, it's irony premised on the reality that law schools doesn't teach shit about real law practice, right?
A:  No, not at all!

Q:  Do you think people who enrolled at Northeastern in 2013 have a lot of common sense?
A:  Of course.

Q:  Don't you think that telling graduates that they will make a difference - knowing that half of them will never be meaningfully employed as lawyers, much less in any satisfactory role that advances the public interest - is like calling up a fraud victim just to lie to them again?
A:  Those lawsuits were summarily dismissed.

Q:  When people talk about "making a difference," why do they never seem address the possibility that the difference being made is a negative one in the aggregate?
A:  Objection, rhetorical!

Q:  Does paying enough in tuition over three years to afford a Maserati - and not the cheap one - qualify as making a difference?
A:  These faculty members would be making seven figures as partners in Boston's most prestigious law firms otherwise.

Q:  I find "nimble" to be an incredibly odd adjective to describe law graduates.
A:  Obviously, it's meant figuratively.  No one's getting contortion-fucked here.

Q:  Is resilience really a good virtue when it leads to failing the bar multiple times or staying in a saturated lawyer field rather than doing something socially productive?
A:  Damn it, like 90% of the Massachusetts bar is going to retire in the next few years!  We have an old lawyer crisis at the gate!

Q:  Are you saying that other law school graduates aren't as teamwork-y as Northeastern graduates?
A:  Yes.  Northeastern graduates are special, like snowflakes.
Q:  Does that include the professors on your faculty who went to other, more prestigious law schools?
A:  Uh...
Q:  Will you be hiring these Northeastern graduates to the faculty to harness these super-abilities?
A:  This impertinence is why no one can take you seriously.

Q:  Is the mark that graduates will leave on the profession skid in nature?
A:  .... no response ...


  1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingMay 30, 2016 at 12:14 PM

    The greatest act a lawyer can do in our system, is protect, defend and advocate the Constitutional Rights of an ordinary citizen. The problem is monetizing that act and creating a sustainable, middle class lifestyle. A few years ago, that was possible with a "volume practice." Today, there are too many of us trying to do that; we are tripping over each other fighting for that elusive three bill retail theft. One blog poster analogized it to 24 men descending on an elderly woman negotiating a crosswalk during the dead of winter in a howling storm. Rather than making a difference, we are like a hoard of locusts. Just drive down Western Avenue in Chicago....on every block there are several store front lawyers trying to make a difference. Look at any phone book....pages and pages of lawyers trying to "make a difference."

  2. [Dean Jeremy Paul:] “In short, you came to North­eastern because you wanted to make a dif­fer­ence, and you are already doing so.”

    [Read: "You already made a difference in my investment portfolio...with your student loan checks."

    I laugh whenever TTTs state that they "teach practical law." Yeah, well it's the same BS pedagogy. Plus, law firms like to hire people from name brand law schools. Apparently, these toilets want lemmings to think that top law schools only teach one how to bloviate, while the lower ranked ones "teach the nuts and bolts of law."

    Yeah, good luck bringing your humanity to Mailboxes Etc., when that's the best you can do with a NorTTThea$TTTern law degree. Wait, maybe you'll make a difference when you're pouring lattes - while owing $189,211.49 in student debt.

  3. "..the problem is monetizing that act.." I've been practicing for 25 years and there is no shortage of need on the part of clients. The problem is that they can't afford to pay for legal services. This is the problem in representing people.

    1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingMay 30, 2016 at 8:17 PM

      Or, they REFUSE to pay. I have been turned down when a proposed customer, I mean client, refuses to turn over a $75.00 bond as my fee. They specifically ask for a Public Defender because THEY want that bond money back. They don't want to pay for a lawyer.

  4. "Subrin asked Medwed what dif­fer­en­ti­ates North­eastern law stu­dents, and Medwed said they were nimble, resourceful, resilient, and com­mitted to team­work and collaboration."

    Unlike those of every other cookie-cutter toilet from Boston to Honolulu.

  5. Great post-but I gotta disagree with Star Gazer, at least partially. There are, most certainly, people who cannot afford to pay for legal services.
    As a reformed solo, you can take my word on this: there are plenty of people who can afford an attorney who don't want to pay, ever, for legal services. These are people who just don't want to pay, period. If I added up all the hours I spent trying to land small criminal/civil cases where the client wouldn't sign on b/c s/he didn't want to pay legal fees, it would be in the thousands of hours.
    Even worse were the contingency cases; several times the spouse(not the injured party) contacted me so that I could give them "advice" so they could negotiate with the insurance adjuster themselves-and the advice would be free, of course.
    So it's important to recognize reality: while some cannot afford fees, many many don't want to pay an attorney, even on a contingency basis.

  6. For 2015, per the ABA's inflated employment statistics, 18 of a class of 167 were flat unemployed. Here's hoping they are plenty nimble, as those loans are coming due....

  7. Dean Paul is the biggest academic egghead I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. He knows nothing about how to practice law in the real world

  8. It's not just that they CAN'T afford to pay for legal services, but also, maybe they DON'T WANT to do that.

    One thing which I've observed is when people insist that they "can't" do something, what they really mean is that they "don't want to" - see the difference?

    As usual, great post, Law School Truth Center!

  9. From the linked article:

    "Jeremy Paul, dean of the School of Law, told grad­u­ates [that]. . .their law degrees "will open employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties we cannot yet imagine.""

    This irony has to be intentional. I imagine Paul, after the ceremony, going home to his luxurious digs and bragging to his near and dear that he told the graduating suckers that he could not imagine who would hire them, and they lapped it up as praise.

    1. If we cannot yet imagine those opportunities, how can we possibly know that a toilet-paper degree from Northeastern will open them up?

  10. My dog leaves a mark on the world every morning ....