Phew. Let’s hear it for holiday cheer, especially as it just might put down a gnarly period in legal doings, at least as it’s visible online and in some key media outlets: It wouldn’t be cherry-picking too much in the pile of recent legal-related press clippings to think that lawyers can be a pretty unhappy lot.
They’re grumbling about what law schools do or don’t teach, and, thus, what Big Law firms must school associates in — to the consternation of cash-strapped clients struggling through the continuing and ugly recession. Some in legal academe are gnawing their nails down about the accuracy of students’ job placements and post-school salaries, while others are fretting about hypothetical scenarios and whether they show that prized J.D. degree adds up in economic terms. Then there are those who are looking at the mounting debt-load of law school grads and seeing what institutions public and private seem to be racking up the most sizable bills due for their prospective alums (click on that link and see why you may be glad not to be a Cal, Bruin or Loyola law student these days, shouldering lots of IOUs). It would be almost criminal, of course, to not want to stare at the published proposals of two law profs that law schools test an unusual means to cull their classes of those less likely to succeed but still be burdened with big bills — pay ’em to get out.
Of course, if law students stay in practice, and even if they make partner, well, our newly annointed legal young lions report that they feel isolated, uncertain, even incapable to gin up new business and as if they were not trained well enough in their craft. Oh, and dare we mention that some women in the law have found a new reason to explode about gender inequities — a recent law review publication with catty comments from legal secretaries on how they preferred to work with men, not women in law firms; though the American Bar Assn. Journal visited the sore topic twice, it eventually ended with an unusual editors’ mea culpa.
So lest all this lawyer sturm and drang take away that carefully cultivated seasonal sense of thankfulness and gratitude (or was it the apple pie, turkey and stuffing that produced that brief bliss?), and especially because of the specialty field to which this blog dedicates itself, let’s point out that some practitioners have crossed a line. They’ve gone from Entertainment Law to trying to be entertainers, specifically comedians. Considering all the reasons just listed for members of the profession to be so glum, why not lighten up and partake of the black comedy blog Bitter Lawyer and it’s much-viewed, barrister-created online soap opera, The Bottom Rung?