Friday, November 30, 2007

Why Do I Hate Law Students? Because They're Hateable.

Sherman Oaks, California

If you want to know what type of people make law school intolerable, meet Beirne Roose-Snyder.

Washington Post reporter Ian Shapira would like you to mist up and cry because of the horrible choice that Roose-Snyder, 26, was forced to make. Did she awake with her home on fire and only have time to save one of her children? Did she escape from the clutches of the Abu Sayyaf Group, knowing the terrorists would kill other captives in reprisal?

No. Roose-Snyder’s dilemma was that she chose a $145,000 job at a Chicago law firm instead of a possible $60,000 fellowship at a Georgetown University health law institute.

Cue the violins.

As depicted in Friday's Washington Post, Roose-Snyder is a victim of forces beyond her control. Law school debt, real estate prices and the need for experience all conspire against her idealistic desire to work for the United Nations or an NGO.


If you are a third-year law student, you don’t magically find yourself with a big firm offer. You have to study hard the first year of law school. You have to soldier through a soul-destroying battery of job interviews your second year to obtain a summer position. Then you have to mind your work product and politicking to make sure you obtain an offer of full-time, post-graduation employment at the end of the summer.

You get a big firm offer because you want a big firm offer.

So I doubt that Roose-Snyder is a victim of involuntary servitude.

When I was at Berkeley, the law students I despised where the “crypto-corporates,” as I call them. They spent the first year hijacking class discussion so they could loudly proclaim their devotion to juvenile justice or Guatemalan refugee rights or whatever other fashionable left-wing cause they were fronting. Yet, when recruiters visited campus at the beginning of second year and six-digit starting salaries became a possibility, they all donned suits and dresses and made the rounds.

At the beginning of third year, almost all of them accepted big firm jobs, and rationalizations filled the air. The corporate positions were “only for a couple of years” or “just to pay off debt” or – the most risible phrase of law school – “to keep my options open.” None of them would admit that a big firm job was the goal all along.

These students wanted the financial comfort of law firm life without giving up the lefty street cred of public interest law. And they would never, ever admit that they sold out.

So, please, Beirne Roose-Snyder and all of your ilk, spare me the notion that you’re torn to pieces about what you have to do.

Did your resume reach the hiring partner by accident?

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Blogger Tom Salemi said...

Journalism students face the exact same issues, except for the lucrative job offer part. That never really happens.

In fact, it's not the same at all. It's quite different.

I hate lawyers.

Except for Paul.

12:47 AM  
Anonymous Jeremy said...


You heartless pig. How could a young, single professional possibly survive on a starting salary higher than the U.S. median household income? And do you have any idea how hard a public interest lawyer works compared to a junior associate at a big law firm? Even the most dedicated socialist clearly has no choice but to give up their ideals.

5:40 AM  
Anonymous Joe said...

Brother, here at Michigan the Champions of Justice choose (fast becoming "chose") corporate firms because they "do a lot of civil liberties litigation" or "have a good pro bono program", despite that they're working in corporate mergers. So, you see, it only appears they've sold out to the man. They're still pissing on the toilet seat.

3:05 AM  

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