I was recently exposed to the growing ranks of disaffected lawyers blogging about what they’ve dubbed the “Law School Scam.” They put a voice to the myriad of feelings I have about my choice to attend law school and become a lawyer. Some of them are angry, others are passionate about preventing other would-be lawyers from making the same mistake. Time will tell what form this blog takes, but I felt that it was important to join the chorus of voices and tell my story. It would be nice if what I have to say helps some enterprising young person avoid the same bad decisions I have made, but if nothing else, I hope this blog will be an outlet for the feelings that shame and pride prevent me from expressing openly in front of friends, family, and associates.
Other scambloggers seem to get flak from prospective law students and others in the law community, accusing them of being bitter, angry, losers. If anyone ever reads this, I’m sure I will receive my share of that derision. But honestly, there is nothing that some glib winner of the legal lottery might say about me that I haven’t thought about myself. For that matter, there is probably nothing that some cocky 0L has to say about their chances at success that I wouldn’t have similarly thought at that point in my life. The point of this blog, and other scamblogs in general, is that you don’t ever know what life holds for you. The fact that some of us have succeeded in the perverse arena of law school, passed the bar exam with ease, and yet have seen our life’s ambition crumble before our eyes, should give the reader pause. Succeeding in law school doesn’t mean you will succeed in a career as a lawyer, if you can even get that career off of the ground.
I view myself as an absolute failure. I “did everything right” in law school, and yet once I graduated and passed the bar exam I couldn’t get employers to take a second look at me. Even though I work as a lawyer, I am being crushed by a load of student loan debt that I can never foresee paying off. I work endlessly for little or no reward.
I decided to go to law school in my early twenties, around the same time I was engaged to be married. I was a recent graduate with a B.A., and because the job market seemed utterly uninterested in what I had to offer, I decided to go to law school. I don’t hesitate to say that my primary motivation for pursuing a career in law was that I wanted to provide for my wife; and ultimately for our children when we decided to have them. I imagined a future where I was the breadwinner and she would have the luxury of staying home with the kids. As bad as my debt is, the worst aspect of my failure is having to suffer the disappointment I see in her every time we talk about money or children or taking a vacation. I feel like I could bear the burden of my mistakes alone; I hate that she has to bear it alongside me.
Many of the scambloggers I have read are bitter, angry, and resentful. They are entitled to be. But more than anything, I feel sad- sad that I have made such a mess of my life, sad that with all my apparent potential, this is how I ended up.
I have a lot more to say.