Friday, June 29, 2012

Prestige and "Following the Script"

Wow.  As followers of this blog will know, this story is eerily familiar and hits WAY too close to home.  Comment #15, from "Non-Trad Student", per the following post:

"15.  Non-Trad Student

Jun 28, 2012 5:00 PM CDT

I wish I had known how much of a permanent caste system law is when i chose what school to attend.

In law, the choice of school is one that factors in at every step of an attorney’s career, for decades.  E.g.  people who dared attend a non-Ivy law school decades earlier won’t even be considered to be a Supreme Court Justice; while in some of your lifetimes, one didn’t even have to be a judge to be nominated.

I began my working career in another industry that had much more of a “what have you done lately?” approach.  My undergrad STEM credentials got me my first job, but I had to keep proving myself, and as time went by, my undergrad degree became less of a factor.  Where in law,  the choice of law school becomes a permanent asset or anchor, regardless of what an attorney can demonstrate once in practice.

When it came time to go to law school, I let geographic proximity control my choice rather than uproot myself to go to the higher-ranked school that my LSAT enabled.  I regret that decision every day because I will be perpetually perceived as lesser and inadequate by the very people who would have been my classmates—all because they ASSUME that everyone going to a lower-ranked school couldn’t get accepted anywhere else.  Especially for non-traditional students, factors other than USN≀ are used in our decision-making process.  My highly-ranked STEM undergrad, high LSAT score, and high bar exam score mean nothing because of my mistake in choosing the law school that was least disruptive to my life at the time.

Given that reality, it is even more absurd that the lower-ranked law schools charge what they do for tuition.  I think #8 is mostly accurate that the education is comparable.  But, clearly, the degree that is granted is not as valuable. "

Non-Trad Student, good luck to you; I feel your pain.  As for other Non-Trads considering lol skool, if you take nothing from this blog, heed this individual's experience.  The study of law is increasingly moving back to "traditional" students with family connections, backing, and/or scholarship potential, if it ever really was open to non-trads in the first place.  As I stated in some of my earliest posts, most non-trad students are already at a stage of life that make it even more difficult to succeed and thrive in the gauntlet, let alone find employment worth the opportunity costs.     

Again, if you have the right backing, Godspeed to you.  Everyone else, run away as fast as possible.  And I would say that to most traditional students, as well.

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