It used to be that parents eager to gain bragging rights urged their children to become either doctors or lawyers. Paul Campos wants prospective law students to think again about the second course. Aside from his savvy blog Inside the Law School Scam, which focuses on the risks and losses of going into law school, Campos is releasing a new eBook that will become available on Amazon.com this week: Don’t Go To Law School (Unless).
The book has a softer tone than his edgy blog, and despite his vehemence, he writes from concern for students who could set them up for a grand disillusionment once they hammer the JD degree into their wall.
“The most important thing for any prospective law student to keep in mind is that, at present, the large majority of law graduates — perhaps 80 percent — end up worse after going to law school than they were before they enrolled,” the book warns.
The book isn’t meant to discourage everybody, but Campos wants to expose the shift in viability a JD degree has undergone these last ten years. It used to be that a liberal arts major, such as an English major, would graduate and spend a few months or years languishing over why they let their passion ruin their career prospects, before the brilliant idea occurred to them: English majors make great lawyers! If this is your situation, don’t do it! You’ll end up $150,000 in debt for your student loans, and probably with no career to show for it.
As Law.com reported, Campos identified his goal as “Trying to make it clear to anybody who is considering going to law school right now that they ought to consider that to be a fairly risky endeavor, and should do that in only a fairly narrow set of circumstances.” The wisdom he wishes to impart to students who think they can beat the odds is to become aware of the “Special Snowflake Syndrome,” which inspires a student to think, “Yes, there are incredible odds for me to be a success, but I’m an incredible person, I will try harder than the rest, and so I myself can disregard those statistics that only apply to ordinary people.” As Compos explains:
“Almost everyone who goes to law school plans to work exceptionally hard and finish in the top 10 percent of the class. Ninety percent of these people are going to see their plan fail.”
The book is more than a wet blanket, however; for those students who are determined to become lawyers, and able to justify that determination in their efforts, he gives advice on how to maximize their chances for success, recommending, for instance, what schools to go to and what tuition to pay. As he said, “With the book, I tried not to be polemical. My goal was to analyze the information in the most disinterested way I could, so people could make up their own minds.”