LSAT

I made it to law school

Well folks, I haven’t posted anything of note at all for a number of months at this point because I was studying for my LSAT and attempting to gain acceptance to law school.  I have managed to do that.  Classes are going to start and I’m getting (dis)oriented with the law school experience.

If there’s anything I’ve always thought about lawyers, it is that they are totally weird.  I’ve met plenty of weird people generally, and in every profession, but some lawyers just have a very strange way of thinking and behaving.  If I become a lawyer, which I hope will happen (I should say ‘when I become a lawyer’, but it’s still a long road ahead), I will still probably think that lawyers are very weird.  Then again, I’m going to law school so I must be weird too!  I have a background in science and engineering; however, so I will probably always think along those lines — I have a feeling that this background will serve me well during my studies and in my career.

I find it funny when students reply that they want to be lawyers “because their parents and/or grandparents are lawyers”. This isn’t a good “main” reason to go law school at all!  This isn’t to say there may not be an influence from a close family member to pursue law, but one goes to law school to think for his or herself, not because mom or dad suggested you do so.  One needs more compelling reasons than that.

I am older than the average student, so I am finding my class to be full of generally nice people, but detecting some sense entitlement from some law students.  Perhaps it’s generational and/or just nervous students posturing, but I find the arrogance unusual considering these folks are not yet lawyers, nor do they have much life or employment experience!  Even as a lawyer, arrogance is likely quite off putting to folks who already find accessing legal representation/justice to be a challenge, if not downright impossible.

Luckily though there are also students who seem to understand this and my instructors have spent enough time in the real world to demonstrate humility.  I don’t think that law schools are helping the cause of access to justice either, by putting a high price on legal education, in particular in the United States.  There are plenty of law school “scam” blogs on the web too, but maybe I’ll talk about that on another day.

Either way so far I am excited to be embarking on a new career path through the appreciative eyes of someone with some life experience, after being caught up in a career that wasn’t really doing it for me for a lot of reasons.

I’ll try to post more regularly, but things are already starting to get nuts with my schedule.

Bring on the weirdness, lawyers!

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Still Unemployed But Not Hopeless

As discussed previously, my most recent attempt at finding employment within the industry in which I was previously working did not pan out.  It is as if the universe is telling me to just stay away from that career path and move on to something else (if I was to believe in fate as the only factor at work of course).  Today it is difficult to change careers without returning to school in some capacity.  Unfortunately, pursuing higher education demands forking out money for standardized testing, and one cannot really avoid this, particularly if one would like to have the option to attend school in the U.S. or Canada.

My partner’s recent experiences at a large, well-funded U.S. university has been an eye-opener in terms of the current state of the academic system.  The employment prospects and practices at colleges and universities for today’s up and coming academics appear to be dismal at best.  There is not a lack of funding for research in the United States, but there is a lack of publicly sourced funding, in comparison to what was available in the past.  Despite these facts, the number of PhDs granted by institutions is on the rise, and it seems that the culture of academia appears to favor a more corporate mentality than ever before, where instead of profit in dollars, growth in terms of number of PhDs granted is academia’s currency.  It would not be in the interest of a college or university to dissuade potential graduate students away from graduate school, now would it?  Besides, there are so many foreign students willing to come to the U.S. for a PhD or postdoc, so why turn away cheap research labor?

Knowing this, I wrote the GRE* anyway because I want to have different career options, one of which would involve research, despite the crappy state of academic jobs these days.  Knowing what I know, I would prepare myself to be able to do research outside the world of academia if I ever did decide to take on doctoral work.

Since we know life is uncertain, and given my continued state of unemployment, I am considering law school also as part of my future career leveraging strategy**. I also know that there has been a decline in those sitting for the LSAT in the last few years, especially in the U.S.  I’ve read that the lower numbers have been attributed to outrageous law school tuition rates, fewer jobs available, etc.  Recently, though, the number of people writing the LSAT has picked up again.  With an improved economy I am sure more work will be available in the future.

All career options have their pros and cons.  Being a Gen Xer coming out of the Great Recession, I have to keep an open mind about the future.  I have to consider what I am passionate about, while at the same time I have to think about what’s practical for me, too.   If I spent my time focusing on the cons of every career option, then I’d probably become a complete nihilist***, but like Rustin Cohle in “True Detective” – I am programmed to survive….

* supposedly ETS, the group that administers the GRE, is a nonprofit organization, but given the rise in graduate students and costs to take the exam, I am sure it cannot be an organization which is hurting for money, nor is it likely that other standardized test administration organizations are either, or the test prep companies for that matter….

** these are not my only motives for considering a career in law.  If they were I would not survive law school, I’m sure.

*** not that there is anything wrong with being a nihilist, but I heard it’s difficult to make a living as one these days…