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.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

All-Request I

"Can you address the following issue: I've heard that three years of law school tends to make otherwise impassioned, exuberant and humanist law students into apathetic drones, ready to be shipped to law firms to churn out billable hour-fluffing work. How accurate is this phenomenon? Why does it happen? What can be done to stop it, to maintain one's conviction and sense of healthy skepticism? Are there on-campus groups - public interest, for example - that help keep their members in check? The reason why I ask this is because I am heading to law school myself this fall."

Wow. To start law school with this kind of attitude seems not that good. I don't think law school makes passionate people into drones. I don't honestly see tremendous differences in people from the beginning of law school until the end, although maybe I'm just blind to it because I've been on the same journey with them. I think some of the self-selection that happens when people choose to go to law school means that law school has its share of people who are looking for a relatively secure job where they can earn a decent living. Law firms provide that, with some tradeoffs obviously. But I think passionate people can keep their passion -- and I think that holds whether or not they end up going to law firms. Lots of people don't stay at law firms forever, and go on to do interesting things. I don't know that public interest is necessarily better in every case -- it depends on the person and what they're interested in. I'm just circling this answer I guess -- I don't really have a direct response. You are not just a pawn in law school's evil plan to turn you into someone you don't want to be. If you go in wanting to retain your passion, then I don't see why you can't. You can be whatever person you want to be. Write yourself a letter before you start, about the person you want to be. Read it every so often. Maybe that will help. Find other passionate people. I think being aware that there's a possibility of turning into an apathetic drone is probably the biggest step toward not being led down that route. This is not great advice, I know. I'm just not sure I buy the premise.