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July 13, 2010

UPDATED: Teletubbie Alert (Orange Level): Law schools must now teach you how to be "a person"?

Above: This bunch headed for law school? Hopefully not--but run one over if you see one just in case. Speed up a bit.

To us, the suggested cure--that law schools do for people what people down through history have generally done for themselves (i.e., become full-fledged human beings)--seems way worse than the disease(s).

Get the net? Our head writer told me--at first--to "trash this blog post thoroughly, lovingly and like you mean it". And then said, on second thought, to go easy since the blogger is a "King-Hell Straight-Up Total Betty". So his hypocrisy knows no bounds.

We will bite our tongue, then. We will hold back.

But do see the well-written and sincere but perplexing "Will Law Schools Help Build a Healthier Profession?" at the otherwise sane Law People. So studies find that "within six months of entering law school, students experience significant decreases in well-being and life satisfaction, and substantial increases in depression, negative affect and physical symptoms." So, some voices cry out, the law schools should address this terrible and pressing problem.

Wait. Didn't we sign up for that risk? The often difficult externalities of professional school and learning how to be a lawyer? Comes with the territory, right? We knew law school and the profession would be stressful.

Isn't it a cliché--but a true one--that growing up is a hard and often painful process?

And now law schools should do something about it? To us, the suggested cure--that law schools do for people what people down through history have generally done for themselves--seems way worse than the disease(s).

"Lames, Looters and Tea Cups" are bad for clients. Law schools these days have enough problems producing grads who (a) are marginally useful within two years of being hired and (b) can get through the day without falling apart because they have come face-to-face with a real life client problem that fits no molds.

Turning law school into a rehab for people without life skills is going to make that problem worse--and put clients at even greater risk than they currently face at the hands of "Teletubbie" young lawyers.

Helping law students be real people so they can be happy as real lawyers? It all sounds "nice", though--especially if you are independently wealthy, you have never practiced law longer than 18 months, or you yourself are a victim of too much recreational mescaline during the 1960s.

Look, law people, we always thought that becoming a lawyer or a person was an "inside job". We seriously doubt that Law turns people to booze, drugs, nitrous oxide, ether, glue, Twinkies, or mental illness any more or faster than the same people would ingest or suffer in different or less taxing professions. A lot of that "hay is in the barn" when you get hatched (i.e., at birth). Some call it DNA, genes and family "patterns". Entire books by shrinks, regular physicians and scientists cover it.*

How about this? Law schools will work on recruiting somewhat tougher people who would make good lawyers and actually like, handle and even "use"--rather than fold under--the "pressure" that is likely to still accompany much great legal work for clients in the future? And then make them into the best lawyers they can make them into in three (3) semesters rather than six (6)? Or is that too insensitive, old school, and cost-efficient?

*Wait. Can law school teach our associates which fork to use, about the correct colognes, and how to decant the good port when visiting the Pilkingtons in Pointe aux Barques? Now you're talking.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at July 13, 2010 11:59 PM


Superman:Holden Oliver
Clark Kent:Dan Hull

Have you ever noticed that Holden and Dan never disagree?

Posted by: Harry Styron at July 13, 2010 08:45 PM

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