Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Tonight I went to the annual banquet for the law school drama society, where the graduating 3Ls all get "toasted" and people say nice things about them. It's a nice thing to do, makes people feel good. It goes on forever, but I think it's a good thing. What struck me was a common theme. People kept saying things like, "You're so talented. I hope you don't waste too many years at a firm." Or "You're such a great person. I hope you end up doing something great. Something besides being a lawyer." It's all said so matter-of-factly. Like of course being a lawyer is a horrible thing, and obviously it will be sad and tragic if this is your fate. And then everyone goes off to his or her law firm jobs after graduation. I don't quite understand this. I understand why individual people think practicing law is not for them, and they want to do something else, but they've ended up here, and need to pay off loans, or need to support a family, or have no other passions, and so this is what they will do. I understand this completely completely completely, on an individual level. What I don't understand is how this works on an institutional level. How the industry can survive and thrive when *everyone* feels like this is not where they should be, and *everyone* sees it as a bad thing to end up as a lawyer, yet everyone ends up at a firm, and new students come in every year, and it perpetuates itself. Maybe the drama society is a self-selected group of people particularly not drawn to law practice. But I don't completely think that's true -- I think it's true for some people, but for at least a substantial part, the mix of people in the drama society is not tremendously different from the mix in the rest of the law school. No one here envisions themselves happy as a lawyer. I don't know what they envisioned before coming to law school and whether what they've seen is different, or what the deal is exactly -- when people's feelings changed, and why it seems to be too late for anyone to do anything about it -- and even more important, why the industry hasn't changed to reflect this, or what can be done to change this -- or something. This is not completely articulate, and I'm sure there's a logical flaw somewhere here. But really -- people in law school are generally not happy. I'm relatively happy, but it's because I like school and have found lots of fulfilling things that keep me busy and made a bunch of friends and maybe I'm really not relatively happy but just like to believe I am, I don't know -- but I just don't understand why if everyone else isn't happy, they're still here and doing things they think will make them continue to be unhappy in the future. This is vague. And I shouldn't write weblog posts at 1:45 in the morning. Time for sleep.