Among the highlights - this well phrased encapsulation of the type of people you'll get to work with - Jerks:
It's not always big things -- though big things are the ones that hit the news -- but patterns of obstreperous behavior and downright stupidity that can wear you down over a day-to-day basis. Bickering over stupid document production requests, delays, phantom schedule conflicts... all these things add up. Contemporary lawyering is often an expensive form of childish game-playing with the rules of civil procedure. It's psychological warfare for minute tactical advantage.Those who know me know that I salivate over a good procedural battle. I relish knowing the playbook. I frolic in well-timed motions. But even I want to stab out my eyes when things get bogged down in the above-mentioned minutae. Seriously. It's not cool. In congress, it's fun. In the law, it's just retarded.
Also of interest - the reasons why this ain't no intellectual funhouse:
Unintellectualism. Contrary to popular belief, the law is not a particularly "intellectual" profession. Most of the reasoning in legal argument is patently casuistic. Legal arguments are often made in a "kitchen sink" fashion, throwing every conceivably plausible argument into a brief, regardless of the relative strength of the arguments or coherence of the submission as a whole. The practice of law is the development of a habit of extreme intellectual dishonesty where the routine is to state one's opponent's arguments as uncharitably as possible in aid of weakening their impact and conceal every possible fact or principle that is against one's interest which one isn't explicitly required to disclose.Sounds about right.
This past weekend, an old friend approached me to ask my what I think of Hastings - my law alma mater (my lalma mater?). I told him I couldn't answer that question until I knew why he wanted to know. So we reconvened later in a long, long day to discuss his Life Plans. Now, this guy is awesome. We don't hang out a lot, but he's involved in some of the extracurriculars I take pretty seriously. He's a good union guy - longshore, to be exact. A good egg, through and through. So why ruin it, I asked him.
He gave me a very well thought-out answer to the "why do you want to go" question. He had practical reasons. Hell, they were labor law reasons, which I should totally be keen on, right? Frankly, he sounded like me: he wants to be a lawyer so he can sit across the table from other lawyers when it comes time to renegotiate his contract and really ably represent his union brothers and sisters. That's a far, far better reason than most others you'll here. Except that what he wants is to be an effective negotiator, not a lawyer. In the Venn diagram of life are those two things frequently linked? Sure. Always? Hell no.
So why do it? Why expose yourself to the debt and the time out from a career you love, I asked.
And, as most of these conversations go, the session ended up more about him convincing me that law school is a good decision than me effectively convincing him that *maybe* I know what I'm talking about.
I truly wish him the best. He's a practical, reasonable, smart guy. I think he can get what he wants out of law school and come out less saddled with debt/angst/regret than many others. I just hope, as he's planning to, he finds someone to foot the bill.
Bottom line: don't. go. For realz. Don't go. Unless you want to be a lawyer. And stop nodding your head that you do, you do!, want to be a lawyer, because you really have no idea what it means.