Day: 2010/09/12

Reformers, Futile Gesturers, Blamers, and Loss-Cutters: Adventures in Anger, Personal Responsibility, and Positive Thinking

I open with sources; doodles to follow.

Heather Diersen, “Dear Law School: It’s All Your Fault. Signed, Recent Grad,” in JDs Rising

Mary Beth Marklein, “Grads Taking Law Schools to Task for Poor Job Market,” in USA Today

Don Peck, “How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America,” in The Atlantic

Susan Carter Liebel, “Don’t Be a Victim of the ‘Victim Mentality’,” in Build a Solo Practice at Solo-Practice University

Diersen’s post represents a typical response to legal education’s critics, for example:

[I]f I were smart enough to get into law school, I should be smart enough to know that there have always been too many lawyers.  There are too many lawyers because private (and some public) law schools are money-making businesses…While I sympathize with the recent grads on the job hunt and agree with the criticism against law schools’ admittance and career service practices – law school was my choice, every loan I took out was my choice, and the job market…well, it is tight in nearly every field.  I cannot blame the schools for failing to put a warning label on their applications stating: “Likely to cause debt and unemployment.” [Emphasis Original]

Marklein’s article is somewhat similar, referring to scam bloggers, Zenovia Evans’ hunger strike, and Roger Gordon’s litigation attempt to gain bar admission after only two years of law school to avoid adding more to his $175,000 of student debt.  Kelsey May, a 2010 Tulsa grad who wrote a book, What the L? 25 Things We Wish We’d Known Before Going to Law School, is loosely quoted, saying, “[T]he anger is ‘misplaced. … There should be some level of (personal) responsibility.’”[i] [ii]

There’s a lot going on in this mess of anger, responsibility, and the future.  Thinking on the subject prompted me to create a typology of who’s who in these disagreements.  There are four groups, each with their own audiences and goals.  I call them: Reformers, Futile Gesturers, Blamers, and Loss-Cutters.  These terms are an observation and aren’t meant to be exclusive or exhaustive. (more…)