If I Were a Rich Man...
[by Theodore Bikel, from Fiddler on the Roof]
First I criticized Clifford Winston's Op-Ed piece in the N.Y. Times, saying that law schools and the ABA didn't kill the economy and can't resuscitate it. Then I answered several posts on my You Tube animations about what to do in a weak job market. Then today I received another comment by a disgusted law grad (or about-to-grad) about the lack of jobs. And the National Jurist is implying that law schools are misrepresenting the job market and calling for stricter reporting guidelines.
I don't know whether it's generational, or simply a skewed cross-section — the people who went to school to be rich. But if you're going to law school to be rich, you're in for a big surprise: you'll either fail or hate it.
Almost all my clients in Biglaw regret it. I don't think that was true a dozen years ago, but it certainly has been true recently. Face it folks.
The problem isn't that you can't be a rich lawyer. You can't be a rich realtor, a rich BMW sales person, or a rich plumber. You can't work at Office Depot, KFC, or the Community Center. There are no jobs.
Of course this is an overstatement. There are a few jobs in a few industries. Financial restructuring and bankruptcy are hiring. Depression counseling and emergency room services, alcohol and drug abuse -- anything that grows when the economy shrinks. Crime is increasing, but most cities can't afford to hire new cops. You could try building cars; I hear that Japan was having trouble moving radioactive Toyotas.
In other places on my web page, I discuss whether law is the best field for you. I report on a lecture by Dean Edward Tom at Berkeley, discussing what makes a good lawyer. I discuss the high level of responsibility that goes with being a member of a noble profession. I urge you to take a realistic view of how much education you can afford. But no one promised you a partnership, any more than a college football player is offered a spot in the NFL -- or even a guarantee that he won't break his neck. When Robin Williams accepted his Academy Award for acting in 1998's Good Will Hunting, he says his father told him to have a safe back-up profession, like welding. If you want to be a lawyer, be a lawyer. If you don't, don't. But if you want to get rich, try lottery tickets.
Look for more info before I head to Houston.