There are many lawyers. Too many, we have been hearing for years. At the same time there is a crisis in providing legal representation for regular people. This we hear nothing about, but every lawyer who has worked in the courts knows about it. While all of this has been going on for decades, the cost of a legal education has skyrocketed. For a while, well-paying “jobs” were plentiful, at least plentiful enough that many law school graduates found a place.
But there was always something wrong. The jobs were all in banks, insurance companies, government, and large law firms that have them or similar impersonal entities as clients. That’s where the regular money was, and so that’s where the jobs were, and that’s where the new lawyers went.
If you think about it – and I know it’s hard but we really should – this is not a savory recipe. It’s a snowball effect: more and more “careers” depended on currying favor with the monied and the powerful, who then acquire all the lawyers since they’re the only ones who pay, then the whole profession becomes adjutant to the same institutions who had the advantage in the first place and who then gain more and more systemic advantage until….they don’t need the lawyers anymore. They have the system bought up. There are no big fights on the horizon. There are no formidable opponents. The opposition has been vanquished.
Then they stop hiring and start firing. I mean, why not?
If you want to be a lawyer there’s a lot of work out there. But nobody will pay you for it, and why should they? They’re looking at a rigged system. So are you. They might as well gamble at a casino.
I don’t like what law schools are doing and have done, but I don’t think the solution is to sue them. It’s not easy to take the plunge and do the law school thing and the bar exam thing and after all that work and sacrifice wind up poor. But you know what? There are an awful lot of people who could use your help, and you might – just might – be in a position to do something. Think about them rather than yourself. Not that thinking of yourself and the fix you’re in is terrible or anything, just that it doesn’t do anyone much good to dwell on it too much.
It may pay, or it may not, or maybe there’s a reward down the line if you just try. I don’t know and can’t guarantee anything. What I do know is that there is a crying need for lawyers – real lawyers – and at the moment no one wants to or even can pay for them, even as Kim Kardashian and dozens of similarly frivolous personages and sports stars command literally billions of dollars. It’s one of the economic distortions fostered by our monetary system. Or maybe it’s just a rather unflattering statement of our national character at this point.
But “national character” notwithstanding, lawyers as a group are supposed to have character. We’re supposed to be character leaders. If new lawyers suddenly develop a case of character-itis and start representing the 99% rather than the 1% – a dramatic reversal of the trend of the last 30+ years – will that make any difference and will anyone else follow suit?
I don’t know. Maybe. Can’t hurt.