After I posted the article written by Professor Tamanaha yesterday, there was one portion of his article that stayed with me. The more I thought about it, my blood began to simmer until it reached a full boil. This post is not directed at him, but at the law school system. Tamanaha is emerging as the new law school conscience.
While reading the the cut backs he outlined that will be necessary to reduce the scam, it hit me just how high on the hog law professors are living off of debt burdened students:
This will be painful: smaller raises (perhaps even salary reductions), smaller administrations, smaller faculties, more teaching, less money for research, travel, and conferences.
Here’s the translation: Smaller raises or salary reductions (we might make $325,000 rather than $350,000) smaller administrations (we will have to book our own travel), smaller faculties (we will have to teach more than one course per semester) more teaching (more exams to grade) less money for research (for our articles that no one reads) travel (giving speeches on the article no one read in Hawaii in January) conferences (hooking up with that hot Con law prof from another TTT).
And this comment set me on fire: I too want to earn as much as I can, with lots of time for research, knowing that this is paid for by students.
Well, I too, would like more time for writing, but the difference is I don’t expect others to pay for it with a scam. Here’s the kicker: more people read my “vulgar” blog in a day then will ever read anything these overpaid pseudo intellectuals put out in their lives.
While I think it is wonderful that at least one professor knows that reforms are needed, he doesn’t seem to realize how wrong it is that for years they let students go into debt they can never repay so professors could travel to conferences and turn out law journals that no one except their mothers read, and even they probably don’t read more than the first page.
So in an effort to show you what happens after a law school has robbed a student of $120,000 + and their dream of becoming a practicing attorney, let me show you a day in the life of a Jobless JD. This is what happens after the scam money has been collected and the student leaves without a job in hand:
It starts about 2 AM for me, when I wake up with my heart pounding, wondering what I am going to do. What bill should I pay this month? Electric, gas, rent, all past due. I decide I will pay for gas and electric, go without food, because I still want to lose a few pounds and I have some rice and yogurt left that I can eat this week.
I get up and stare out the window and wonder for the ten millionth time what the hell I was thinking when I decided to go to law school. I play the would have / could have / should have game (If only I wouldn’t have gone to law school, I could have worked and I wouldn’t have debt, I should have thought this out) That usually gets me to 6 AM.
I shower and walk (subway is expensive) to a public library that has computers so I can blog. Mine blew up last year and I can’t afford a new one. Next I go to my $10 an hour part time job (all I’ve been able to get a year out of law school) and I try to be sunny and cheerful and pretend that I’m happy to be there so that I can hold on to it.
Then it’s back to the computer place (sometimes a friend lets me use his computer) and I look for jobs and send out resumes. I’ve redone my resume 10 times, some versions are more fictional than others, none get calls.
I do, however, get calls from my landlord and bill collectors, but never from friends. They have their own problems and they are sick of mine. I don’t blame them, and I’d rather not see them now. My non – lawyer friends look at me with a mixture of pity and disgust: How can you be so educated and not have work?
The shame usually comes in the early evening. I am embarrassed I wasn’t smart enough to see the scam before. I am ashamed that I didn’t finish any where near the top 10% in law school. I had been an A student my whole life; I always considered myself intelligent. Now I can only cringe when I think of my lack of intellectual ability and bad decision to fall for a scam.
So that’s it, I start the day in the early hours of the morning with fear and panic, and it ends with shame and embarrassment. In the darkest moments, my thoughts turn to suicide. If I die, I reason, there will be no more bill collectors, no more crushing debt, no more shame, no more failure.
It is in those dark moments that I remember that I have my readers, and I know I’m not alone and that occasionally, I make them laugh and they forget their troubles just for a second, and they know that they are not alone when I write for them, that others are hurting just like they are. So I brush the dark thoughts away, and I get up and do it all again.
So now maybe you professors can understand how pissed I am to have financed your pseudo intellectual legal journals, your exercises in mental masturbation that no one reads and no one takes pleasure in.
Here is a tribute to law professors everywhere from law graduates and students who paid for your cushy lives with our ruined lives: