Thursday, February 03, 2011

Law School Down

  Joel flags me to the law school news of the morning: applications are down.  Ho hum so far but this one is from the Yale Daily News, meaning it is presumed to be of interest to all those bright young Dink Stovers and Frank Merriwells in the undergraduate colleges who had been entertaining fantasies about their place in the world's primo law school--or, horrors, some other law school that might be honored to adorn itself with a Yalie.  I like it especially how the piece picks up on a theme of mine:
But at Yale, law school is not just a safe haven from a rough job market. Sijia Cai ’11, who applied to law school this year, said she thinks many Yalies apply to law school because it transitions smoothly from an undergraduate liberal arts education.

“I think it’s a common goals for political science and history majors, which are really popular majors at Yale,” Cai said. “A lot of students are aware of the other careers a law degree may lead to and they are looking for an outlet for their liberal arts majors.”
Deconstruct it: I think there are a couple of good points here.  One, law school has long been a beguiling choice for kids who had no strong vocation for law, but who wanted to stay out of the job market a while longer  (and who can blame them?).  And two: if undergrads look forward to law school as "advanced liberal arts," for their part law schools are looking more and more like the history and polisci departments that the kids left behind (or, perhaps, really did not leave behind).  Skim the catalog of any first- or second-tier law school --plus some others--and you'd have a tough time distinguishing it from a jazzy undergraduate menu.  Consoling and fun, but does it prepare you for a  career heavy on fairly boring and onerous detail work?   On the other hand, if you are not really bound for the profession anyway, how much does it matter?

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