Tag Archives: lawyers and rats

First, Kill All the Lawyers

Do we really need more lawyers?

A lot of people were left scratching their heads back in 2006 when Philadelphia’s Drexel University launched a new law school.  Was there really a need for more lawyers?  Were people really clamoring for Drexel to get into the law school biz?  Or was this about Drexel’s ambition to take a solid but boring engineering school and try to build – or buy ­– a world-class university?

The great bard Shakespeare shared with us his feelings about lawyers when, in Henry VI, the character Dick the Butcher – sort of sounds like a WWE wrestler, doesn’t he? – declared “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”   More than 400 years later, paraphrased versions of this quote live on and resonate with many of us.  The whole “kill the lawyers” thing came to mind for The Curmudgeon recently when he read that Drexel’s still-new law school intends to establish a program in which lawyer-wannabes can earn that coveted law degree in two years instead of the customary three.

That’s right:  they want to teach the people who make some of the biggest contributions to screwing up society how to do that screwing in a third less time.

Drexel officials say this is about helping its law students avoid graduating with a mountain of debt.  After all, why should people who will soon be stepping into some of the highest-paying jobs our society offers have to worry about paying for their education?

Yes, this is about money – but not that money.  As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “The accelerated program is also Drexel’s response to diminishing enrollment numbers.”  So in other words, this isn’t about students’ money at all:  it’s about Drexel’s money and its fear that it won’t attract enough students to keep its law school faculty in pinstriped suits.

Drexel is learning the hard way what the rest of the world already knew:  we don’t need more lawyers (and yes, we all know the old joke about how scientists stopped using laboratory rats in their experiments and started using lawyers instead because it turned out that the scientists would sometimes become attached to their rats).  Now, Drexel is desperate to find a way to differentiate itself from other law schools, so it’s chosen this new gimmick:  awarding this license to make/steal money in two years instead of three.

Couldn’t they just have tried offering a set of steak knives with every application?

 

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