Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Movin' to Nebraska

It's been almost six years now since then-Prof. Sara Stadler told law school graduates they might have to move to Nebraska to hop on the Million Dollar Express.

Behold, from the Omaha World-Herald, we have the glistening, steaming, huffing, full-speed-ahead reality.

The article is unnecessarily pessimistic, natch, claiming that law school enrollment has ticked up without a commensurate boost in the job market, Faustian journalists being wont to bias their "work" towards the scandalous in exchange for sales and clicks. 

You know, what life's like in an actually dying cesspool of a once-proud profession.  Compare and contrast.

Instead, one has to read between the lines of this yellow rag to see the robustness of the job market in Nebraska.  First is the pessimism boldly displayed in the front window, so to speak.
Chris Schmidt had struggled to find a full-time teaching job in social studies a few years ago. One of his pickup basketball friends happened to be Richard Moberly, currently the interim dean of law at NU.

One day Schmidt told Moberly he was thinking about going to law school. The hesitation in Moberly’s response and the advice he gave surprised Schmidt at the time.

“Just be sure it’s what you really want,” Schmidt quoted Moberly as saying that day several years ago. 
The set-up here is pure pessimism.  Prospective students - lazy, we know - may read to this point in the article and receive only the caution from the now-interim law school dean.

But there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!  That thing you covet is in the back room, so to speak!
Schmidt has a one-year job clerking for a federal appellate judge in Omaha and a spot lined up with a Lincoln firm after that.
The Omaha Whatever might have viewed this as some sort of "a-ha" moment like a joke's punchline, the twist in a Maupassant or O. Henry story, or the obnoxious ending to a Paul Harvey radio bit, but let's be honest: very few prospective law students can read an entire news article and comprehend the greater message therein.

So I'll say it here, as elegantly as an Aesop fable summary:  if you play pickup basketball with the interim dean, serve as editor in chief of the law review, and graduate with highest honors from the state flagship, you too can work for a U.S. Court of Appeals and have a job in hand when the exit door opens.

Reports be damned, that's a Million Dollar Express that's working just fine. 

Still time to board for fall.

1 comment:

  1. And, Schmidt, the hero of this tale, lived with his parents while he went to law school and graduated without any debt. In fact, every single student profiled for this article was a success story. Everyone graduated with a job. And everyone had undertaken the Sun Dance of introspection to determine if they really really really wanted to go to law school. Happy endings all around. There.