Thursday, October 31, 2019

Shop Closed, Party Continues

This blog started over six and a half years ago as a one-off joke adjacent to ITLSS and OTLSS. It had a touch more legs than I thought. The Center developed a small but regular readership of idiots who got it (including, it seems, law schools). Thank you to those of you who read regularly and commented. Making the same joke a few hundred times only works if you know, somewhere, that someone else smirks (or, one supposes, needs a drink).

It's Halloween: somewhere Dean Satan is hip-hop trick-or-treating with Slick Nick and the Notorious ADCP. He approaches the honors' sorority of a small liberal arts college. They think he's an early puberty child in costume instead of corporate evil incarnate. But it's too late, baby! This is slasher horror. A few quick cuts of the pen and you bitches are the first members of next year's 1L class at a ghoulish fourth-tier law school and the interest is already accruing.

Sorry, old habit.

Truth is, the world's changed, and I don't mean law school - it's still bocoup pricey and run by well-meaning sinecures who, despite their stellar resumes and often excellent intellect, maintain a haughty moat between themselves and real practice to preserve their own relevance.

Blabber about discounts all you want, obfuscate the data, ignore the casualties, whatever. The modal law student of middle class means still walks away with high five- or six-figure debt with limited means to reasonably pay it off short of entering a narrow range of already-high-in-demand jobs, subject to the whims of empathy-less oligarchs like Betsy Devos on side A and policy reformers on side B who would rather purchase votes from the masses than equitably solve the damn problem.

No - that's still a shitshow in the Land of Make-Believe. The bottom line - and I think this encapsulates the non-bitter/angry part of the "scamblog" movement - is that we can do much better, and for that matter, the "scamblog" era has been part of a damn good trend: bad law schools closing, enrollments right-sizing; relative to the population, enrollment is way down over recent memory. I really don't like the botched/memed Schopenhauer quote about the stages of truth, but I'll post a translation of one from his actual writings:
To truth only a brief celebration of victory is allowed between the two long periods during which it is condemned as paradoxical, or disparaged as trivial.
I think that applies to the "law school truth" movement - Nando et al were pilloried as heretics. I remember ages ago I contacted someone about a "future of law" symposium and including these sorts of discussions and being treated like a leper. Now, most of the criticisms levied at legal education are broadly accepted as problems to be acknowledged - ABA imprimatur and all! - and summarily swept under the rug to be cleaned up another day. To the extent that awareness was ever a goal, that's long done.

But the bigger elephant in the room at this point is that internet culture has changed. No one reads one-off blogs any more, or even message boards, really; both were in the process of dying when this stuff started. Access has moved to mobile and social media; "platforms" like FB or Twitter have become exclusive islands to themselves to the exclusion of non-conforming or non-viral content. Text is bad; that no one reads is a true cliche. To the extent they do, diverse niche sites have become established enough to drive out a lot of what used to be random people in the wilderness crafting industry-relevant blog content. The algo tech people have driven everyone to an extremely mediocre present.

All of this has happened in a relatively short period of time, shockingly, really. Mediums and industries now move faster than student loan repayments.

Frankly, though, I'm also more established in my own career than I used to be, not that I really have security to be this stable in 5 years, but I'm a lot more at peace with it, and it helps that my amount of bad anxiety days have been drastically reduced compared to when I started this thing. More distant from law school, I also don't really care as much as I used to (which is a common trend for authors in these parts) although I still get that interesting-new-case thrill from seeing some new entrant to the rogues' gallery. But then again, I think social media shaming has given inhibition to the type of dean who used to pass brazen idiocy as wisdom with no hint of irony or self-awareness.

Oh, well.

I will still check in on OTLSS, police comments (minor annoying reason to close shop: Google doesn't give a shit about spam filtering), etc., may post there if the spirit moves me, but the tank's run out on this side project.

As a final note, if you have liked my writing or comic style (or stop by here in the future, etc.) and actually read book-ish things, I did publish grown-up juvenalia a while back concerning the legal industry under a different pen name, Lawyer Fantasy. Various statutes of limitation have now passed, if I'm not mistaken, and I think some of the issues may be more salient now than they were when I wrote the damn thing. I am also full of myself, if you haven't noticed by now, despite pseudonymity, not promoting anything, etc.

The play was fine otherwise, Ms. Lincoln, and I love my law degree, thanks for asking.