Here are two recent articles—or more accurately blurbs–of interest to prospective law students, sent my way by a current law student. Survey: Most Pre-Law Students Confident re Own Prospects, But Dubious About Others reports on the results of a Kaplan Test Prep study of 330 pre-law students: “52 percent are ‘very confident’ of finding a legal job after graduating from law school and passing the bar exam. However, only 16 percent are ‘very confident’ that most of their classmates will achieve the same success.” Someone from Kaplan opines that the results show prospective students’ “optimism in an economic turnaround” and speaks to the respondents’ “self-assurance.” A less-flattering interpretation is that 84 percent of pre-law students are “very confident” that most of their classmates will be losers? Imagine the survey respondents’ first day in law school. In her welcoming remarks the Dean says “each of you look around–the two people to your immediate left and the two people to your immediate right–plus 1/5th of that next guy–believe that you will not find a legal job and/or will fail the bar.” Disdain, arrogance, smug superiority, and self-delusion, all in the name of self-assurance–welcome to law school indeed.
The second blurb, Researcher Says Law Students Need to Learn to Read Like Lawyers, has little substance. The comments, however, admittedly from a small population, reveal bitterness, disillusionment, cynicism, and frustration with the practice of law. One reading is that these are the first article’s 84%, still looking down post-graduation on judges, courts, clerks, and other lawyers. Another is that trial practice stinks. Another is that there are a lot of unhappy lawyers. Another is that lawyers like to bitch. Another is (e) all of the above.