Whispers of Faint Praise: 5 Good Things About Law School for New Students

Today I awoke to the sun shining, the birds chirping, and all being right with my world. Charlotte School of Law had been consigned to history’s “Big Heap of Bad Ideas,” and surely, SURELY things couldn’t get better than knowing there was one less law school out there praying on the hearts and minds of those who merely want to pay six figures to make the horrible choice to pursue a career in law.

Then I remembered that law schools are coming back into session, and that means that all the other operating institutions either have, or are soon going to be, welcoming the fresh-eyed classes of incoming 1L’s, dividing them into sections, talking for one evening about the nobility of the practice of law, and then systematically destroying everything they hold dear and true about themselves to leave only the shivering, sobbing shells of what once was a human in their place. My world once again grew dark with this knowledge.

BUT ALL IS NOT LOST! See, despite what movies like The Paper Chase (which will be next week’s Film Friday post!) would have you believe, law school is not an august institution of ivy-covered pillars and tradition. It is not the most stressful time of your life, nor is it some horrible experience. At least not solely those things. I mean, it’s bad motherfuckers, don’t get me wrong, and you’re going to look out the library window more than once and question how much effort it would take to heave first a chair, and then your tired body, out of it, landing on all fours and running into the woods as you strip off all clothing to live amongst the animals.

[Note to law students: that shit happens. Look at me and the furries.]

But there are some good things about law school too, you know? Some faint whispers of damning praise for the professional prison, and I think it may be worthwhile to mention them here.  So here we go, Boozy’s 5 things you may enjoy about law school:

You’re Going To Be Cuter.

No shit. There’s this magical thing we call the “Law School 10.” The idea is that most people who are admitted to law school are the types of people that spend a large amount of time with their noses in books and without the appearance and social skills to cruise through life on their looks. I’m not saying lawyers and law students are ugly per se, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Quasimodo was sitting in the seat next to you during first year torts. And the neat thing is, because law students don’t fucking interact with the outside world at all, we start to rethink what is and isn’t attractive.

Hence the “Law School 10.” A Law School 10 may have an overbite, be a little overweight, have pimples on their back and the tiniest dick known to man, but they’re gonna be the best goddamn thing in your section. In the real world they’d be ranked a solid 4-5 on appearance and attractiveness, but much like prisoners confined for the long haul, law school changes your perception of the world around you and forces you to make some hard goddamn choices. You may be tempted to date a Real World 8 over the Law School 10, but don’t. The Real World 8 will get offended when you’re distracted over studying. The Law School 10 won’t give a shit if you write your outline on their back so you can study for the Property I exam while doing it doggy style.

There’s Literally Booze Everywhere.

No shit.

From the day you start law school until the day you graduate, there will be free beer and wine fucking everywhere. Every event will have a reception. Every dance will have a bar. Every gathering will contain at least 3-4 bottles of bad whiskey that some fuckwit who came straight from his undergrad days of Natty Ice will think is good whiskey. And a lot of this will be provided by your fucking school! That’s right, the school may actively encourage you to drink because, holy shit, if you sober up you might realize what a poor set of decisions you made to end up here in your life and rethink things. Want to just go get a masters and be a history teach, Jimmy? No you don’t, here’s some Cuervo, tomorrow we start talking about the Rule Against Perpetuities.

You’ll Get To See Assholes Fail.

Cool story: When I went to law school, there was a kid who walked around talking regularly about how he went to Harvard for undergrad. I did not go to a “Harvard” level law school, although my school was, in fact, named for the same person Harvard Law named one of its libraries after. He wasn’t there on a scholarship, he hadn’t done anything spectacular, he was just a “Harvard undergraduate.”

One day I pulled him aside at the designated smoking corner and said, “Dude, you went to Harvard for undergrad. You’re still here with the rest of us. Undergrad doesn’t matter here.”  That did not register for him as he blithely dismissed everything and continued being the World’s Biggest Cockiest Asshole.

When exam scores were released the following semester, I watched his face go through several iterations of “oh fuck” as he scanned further and further down the list to see where his “secret number” was. It was at the bottom. All the way at the bottom. The breakdown was fucking glorious as that son of a bitch went out to his Porsche and cried for 90 minutes straight in the parking lot.  He withdrew from the school two days later.

So yeah, you’ll get to see people who have come to expect to be the best at everything completely break the fuck down when they realize they aren’t.

…How is that not a benefit? Are you not a sadistic fuck?

You’ll Learn How Little You Can Sleep.

Law school is not a fucking restful period of time. You will not be getting a “full nights sleep” for half of the goddamn semester. Instead, there will be nights where your ass is up until 2-3 a.m. the night before an exam with four other sleep-deprived people going over your outlines ad nauseum to make sure you can understand the majority and minority rule for something that may or may not appear on the exam, and Carl took his his shoes off and DEAR JESUS his fucking feet stink what the fuck do you mean there’s no more coffee? Then, on a sleep schedule of “I napped in the parking lot,” you’ll walk inside the next day, sit down, take that one fucking exam that determines your entire grade and…do pretty well. You’ll learn that you can live without sleep and do good work for a short period of time.

This skill will be important in practice.

You Won’t Learn Anything That Matters.

I shouldn’t say that, because law school does teach you several skills a lawyer needs, like how to read, analyze, and research a point of law, as well as the broad concepts of common law. But it doesn’t teach you the shit you need to actually practice  law, like how to collect a bill, how to sign a client,  or even the law of the area you’ll be practicing in. Law school, instead, is focused on breaking you down and taking a once fully-functioning member of society, removing their ability to empathize like a normal goddamn person, and turning them into a legal machine.

You are emotionless. You are dedicated. You are objective. You are lawyer.

The rest of the shit? You’ll have to learn that on your own, the actual ins and outs of how to really be a lawyer, which isn’t the esoteric bullshit you learn in the classrooms of a law school. The only way you learn how to negotiate a deal, bring a client to settlement, assess the value of a case, and manage your practice is by actually fucking doing it. Law school doesn’t teach that shit because it can’t teach that shit.  Law school can only teach you the esoteric discussions, not the actual profession.

Go Forth and Fail, Shitheads.

I know, you may think I’m being a pessimist about this shit. “Sure Boozy,” you say, “You had these experiences, but I’m different! I like people and I’m going to practice International Space Fishery Preservation Patent Law and help people! I’m going for the right reasons!”

First, fuck you, that’s not a real thing and if it was I’d already be doing it.  Second, no lawyer went to law school saying “I want to specialize in mortgage foreclosures because I get really fucking hard watching families live out of their cars.” Law school did this to us, and it’ll do it to you, too.  There’s no way around it.

But hey, at least you can drunkenly laugh at the asshole who fails out while another student stares longingly at your sleep-deprived ass.