Say what you will about Gerry Spence, the man has a voice that is loud enough to be heard. Bellowing against law schools ill-preparing their students for the practice of law, accusing them of perpetrating what amounts to an educational fraud, is refreshing.
On the average it costs more than $100,000 to get through law school. And after four years in undergrad and three more years in law school, the law school graduate doesn’t know enough to pass the Multi-state Bar and has to spend another $5000 or more to prepare for that. Even then many will fail the bar, some more than once.
The bar exam itself is a fraud. The exam does not help the law profession to determine those who will fight for people, who are honest and who have courage—the most fundamental requirements of a lawyer for the people. The bar exam only tests the applicants ability to play their mostly silly word games.
So we have law schools claiming they are educating lawyers when most lawyers, as they drag themselves out of the misery and boredom of those three empty years, are tragically unprepared to do anything useful.
Not only are law school graduates unprepared to sit for the bar exam, they are unprepared to enter the business world. When I conduct an orientation of first years, I begin by saying that while they think they went to law school to practice law, they are, in fact, business men and women entering a multi-hundred million dollar-a-year business in which their great aspiration is to become a partner. To succeed in this business they had better understand marketing, business development, client relations, accounting, finance, employee relations, and so on. I then scan the room looking for the nodding heads. Those are my future rainmakers.
So where does this bring us? Perhaps it simply begins with a voice as loud as Gerry Spence who kicks off a conversation. Then a few blogs pick up on the conversation and pass it along. Some general counsel, already fed up with paying for what they consider to be on the job training, will put more pressure on their corporate law firms. At which point, corporate law, who are paying entry salaries of $145,000 – $160,000, might insist that their first years graduate prepared to practice law.
Yeah. That sounds pretty Pollyanish, even to me.