Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Does the logo on your T-shirt reveal your aptitude for legal practice? Take the DiscoverLaw quiz.

I  am no fan of DiscoverLaw, which is the LSAC-funded (and, I think, created) organization  that coordinates so-called pipeline activities designed to direct or steer young people, including specifically high school and community college students, towards eventual law school attendance. [1], [2]

But I admit that if a kid is thinking about law school, he or she ought to go one step further and consider what practice area he or she would like to specialize in. To make this determination, it is advisable that the kid takes stock of his or her own values, concerns, and goals. 

So I was hopeful that the "Fields of Law" quiz on DiscoverLaw's website might prove a useful tool. A quiz-taker answers 18 multiple questions and then clicks the "find out" button to determine which practice area "just might be the field that’s right for you." The possibilities include civil rights, corporate and securities, criminal, entertainment, environmental and natural resources law, family and juvenile, health, intellectual property, international, sports, and tax. 


However, after reviewing the specific questions, I was not fully persuaded that this quiz really does reveal legal aptitudes. But judge for yourself:

1. My iPod is filled with ...
  • legally downloaded music
  • baseball highlight
  • sounds of nature
  • language lessons
2. My T-shirts usually feature ...
  • my favorite sports team
  • a brand name
  • my favorite band
  • something from nature
9. Man, do I hate ...
  • pollution
  • disease
  • plagiarism
  • bye weeks
12. With a law degree, I could ...
  • save the planet
  • fight crime
  • help children
  • work with celebrities
14.  The best first date would be ...
  • attending a murder mystery dinner theater
  • visiting an art museum
  • dinner at a French restaurant
  • volunteering at a Boys & Girls Club
17. I love movies ...
  • about heists and crime
  • with subtitles
  • that critique society
  • that have a celebrity cast

I do not care to speculate as to why the good people at DiscoverLaw regard "volunteering at a Boys & Girls Club" as one of four possibilities for an optimal first date. It is sufficiently disturbing that DiscoverLaw tells teenagers that the nature of their future successful and rewarding legal career can be revealed from their Netflix history or the logo on their casual wear. Or, really, from their fantasies. Whether one's dream is to be the trusted confidant of Hollywood movie stars or to save the Amazon river basin, a JD can make it happen.

(Although, looked at from a different perspective, DiscoverLaw has succeeded in designing a multiple choice test with no wrong answers-- you just have to remember to complete it. Perhaps that is a template for a redesigned multistate bar exam, one that would even satisfy the test's harshest critics, such as Brooklyn Dean Nicholas Allard, as well as those worthy strivers who have heretofore felt the sharpest sting of bar exam oppression, such as Infilaw's Arizona Summiteers).
Granted, at one place on its website, DiscoverLaw notes that the quiz is "not a foolproof diagnostic scientific tool" and even "just for fun." Elsewhere on the website, however, DiscoverLaw recommends the quiz with no such disclaimer. In a box labeled "Discover More," DiscoverLaw helpfully advises: "Not sure which field of law is right for you? Our Fields of Law Quiz might point you in the right direction!" Similarly, if a visitor clicks the "preparing for law school" tab at the top of the website, then the "make your next move" tab, and then checks "I am a high school student," he or she will receive the following advice: "Not sure which field of law is right for you? Take DiscoverLaw.org's quiz for ideas."
Before dismissing DiscoverLaw’s quiz, and its website generally, as childish and easily-recognizable hype, consider that DiscoverLaw: (1) targets kids from historically excluded groups, i.e. those who may not have a network that includes lawyers and non-practicing JDs to help them treat law school marketing with appropriate skepticism and (2) as noted, avowedly targets high school children, i.e. those have not yet achieved the status of "sophisticated. . . education consumer" that, it seems, automatically accompanies a bachelor’s degree. See e.g. Gomez-Jiminez v. New York Law Sch., 943 N.Y.S.2d 834, 843 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2012) ("By anyone's definition, reasonable consumers--college graduates--seriously considering law schools are a sophisticated subset of education consumers. . .")  [3]

I appreciate that the legal academy is slightly less scammy than a few years ago in certain respects. Most law schools have reduced class size, increased the availability of tuition discounts, and have been forced to become more transparent as to employment outcomes. However, in one major respect the scam is becoming dramatically worse– namely, the ever-increasing eagerness of law schools to recruit--I would even say entice--kids whose lack of academic credentials and social capital places them at severe risk of a disastrous outcome.


[1]  According to LSAC’s Form 990s (available at Charity Navigator) LSAC gave DiscoverLaw a grant of $54,731 in Fiscal 2013. LSAC gave  DiscoverLaw a grant of $84,896 in Fiscal 2012. LSAC gave DiscoverLaw a grant of $56,429 in Fiscal 2011. DiscoverLaw’s address is the same as LSAC’s– 662 Penn Street, Newtown, PA, 18940. 

[2] It is called DiscoverLaw-- there is no space between the "r" in "Discover" and the "L" in "Law." Credit to LSAC for making that extra effort to be obnoxious even when there is no apparent reason for it.

[3]   But at least high school kids can't actually apply to law school, right? Not so fast. The recently published Report of the ABA Task Force on Financing Legal Education praises various "innovations" and "experiments" as "the source of possible solutions and models" (which an unsympathetic critic could interpret as meaning creative new ways to bamboozle the vulnerable). One such innovation that the Task Force singles out for praise is the following:
"The program at the Sturm College of Law even includes an option allowing highly qualified high school seniors to apply for its three-plus-three program as they apply to the university for undergraduate admission." (Report, p. 12)


  1. What a shit test!

    Thirty percent of the practice areas listed are proven scams (entertainment law, sports law, international law); how about there's some realistic practice areas in there, such as:

    - Document review
    - Unemployment
    - "Not law"

    And a few questions like:

    What is your ideal mid-morning drink?
    - Coffee with gold leaf sprinkles like that served to every lawyer by their hoardes of hot secretaries during a break from rescuing starving future baseball and film child stars from international deathcamps set up by megacorporations where they're force fed meals of pollution
    - Nothing, you're too busy slaving away in a doc review basement to get a drink
    - Water, because you're unemployed and can't even afford a fucking Starbucks once in a while
    - Vodka, because it's how you cope with your shitty decisions in life, including going to law school
    - The drug cocktail given to you at Dignitas for assisted suicide

    Which retards are reading that quiz and thinking "Yeah!!! I've been officially identified as a future entertainment lawyer!!! Where's the student loan forms???"

  2. "However, in one major respect the scam is becoming dramatically worse– namely, the ever-increasing eagerness of law schools to recruit--I would even say entice--kids whose lack of academic credentials and social capital places them at severe risk of a disastrous outcome."


    Law schools are really good at displaying their diversity credentials regarding incoming 1L classes but it's all crickets with respect to where minority students go after they graduate. Law schools should be forced to provide separate job placements stats for minority students. I dare them to do that. If I were a minority or traditionally disadvantaged student, I would want to know the law school's record in placing people like me in jobs, specifically large firms. It's completely irrelevant to minority students if Biff or Buffy can get a job at a large firm through the social capital of family connections. But law schools will resist providing these statistics as they would probably be discouraging to their targeted loan conduits.

    1. Admission standards have been lowered at many schools to the point where a majority of grads won't be able to pass the bar - let alone find an attorney job. The pass rate at Arizona Summit for the July exam (1st time takers of the Arizona bar) was a jaw-dropping 30%.

      New York just released its scores today, and it wasn't pretty: 61% overall pass rate, 70% pass rate for 1st time takers, and 79% pass rate for first time takers who graduated from an ABA accredited school (i.e. not foreigners). All of those numbers are record lows.

      And keep in mind, these result come primarily from the class that entered in the fall of 2012. Admission standards have declined since then - sometimes dramatically. Things are only going to get worse.

    2. Although my academic credentials were excellent, my social capital didn't amount to much. I don't recall meeting a lawyer until I was in my twenties, maybe my late twenties. Certainly I didn't (and don't) have relatives capable of getting me a job in law or anything else.

      But it was social capital, not academic credentials, that mattered. At my law school, the rich dipshits all got jobs, whereas my hayseed ass rarely got an interview.

    3. I totally empathize. I didn't even know what kind of suit to buy or shirt to wear (buttoned down collar or not). The placement office idiots didn't even offer any basic advice on being a professional. The students who got the jobs had parents who were well off and they had grown up talking to lawyers, doctors, accountants, hedge fund managers, etc. Interviewing for them was like having a conversation with one of their parents' friends. We used to joke about the LSC (Lucky Sperm Club) but the joke was really on us.

    4. Well, I can help you there. Buttoned-down collars are informal and should therefore be avoided in an interview. But wearing one is no great sartorial crime. I occasionally wear one to work, typically on a Friday. As for suits, imitate 70-year-olds, not 20-year-olds. Serious navy or charcoal, solid or decently patterned, two or three pieces, single- or double-breasted, well balanced, dignified. No black, no electric blue, no dove gray, no narrow lapels, no exaggerated shoulders, no tight-ass trousers, no shin-high hems, no ventless back. And no rubber-soled shoes, gentlemen; leather only.

      Mind you, I'm in my late forties. I wouldn't have known much of that when I was in my early twenties and did not have a suit.

      A rich dipshit at my law school told me that her heart had been set on law school since she was in kindergarten. At that age, I had never heard of law school and for that matter didn't know anything about universities. (I was about 12 when I first saw the campus of a university.) Even as an undergraduate I knew nothing about law school, not even the requirements for admission: I had heard of "pre-law" and thought that it was a set of required courses. Yet the other half—make that the other 1%—is preparing for law school even before starting kindergarten.

      At least one white-shoe law firm hired from my law school only rich playboys whose academic performance was mediocre at best. People of undistinguished pedigree need not apply.

  3. They should have this test replace that pesky LSAT.

    1. I think you misspelled bar exam.

    2. If they get their way, there won't be a bar exam.

  4. Actually, that Sturm Law School idea may have value. When unemployed grads sue the school it might get them around the "sophisticated, college graduate consumer/caveat emptor defense."

  5. "DiscoverLaw has succeeded in designing a multiple choice test with no wrong answers-- you just have to remember to complete it."

    Indeed, no matter how you complete their "test", the answer is always that you should go to law school. Fancy that!

    Well, there are no wrong answers, but for some of us there are no answers at all. I don't have an iPod, don't wear T-shirts, don't watch television…

    But it's easy to see that this dumb "test" leads to a handful of stock lemming-enticing results, notably:

    Corporate shilling
    Exotic travel
    Hobnobbing with celebrities
    Defending human rights
    Defending dolphins and such

    Where are the following?

    Document review

    1. Sorry, someone above proposed substantially the same additions. That goes to show that great minds think alike.

  6. If the legal profession is so goddamn desirable, why does it need touts like "DiscoverLaw"? Shouldn't it sell itself?

  7. It does sell itself. I think that's the problem.

    This is just some kind of fluffy thingy.

    1. Yes! This is simply a way for talentless admin types to get in on the scam.

  8. I feel slightly nauseated after reading this. These scammers are truly shameless. What DiscoverLaw is doing is vile on several levels, First, they are dangling the prospect of a legal career in front of low-information consumers of education, who have no clue what they are getting themselves into. Second, they are building their marketing campaign around the most elite, rarefied legal specializations that virtually no lawyers actually get to do, while making it seem like working in international law and or sports law are realistic career options. Third, they are making law school seem like vehicle of socioeconomic mobility for minority groups, which is profoundly troubling. Law schools have no concern for minority students beyond their ability to qualify for federal educational loans. They pay lip-service to "diversity" while really caring only about one color -- green.

    1. Well said, 8:06.

      From the braying of the scamsters, one would think that the practice of law was all about saving dolphins from fishing nets, traveling to storied cities with five-star hotels, rubbing elbows with athletes and monarchs, litigating in outer space, and transforming this polluted Blue Marble into a Garden of Eden. It's a rare lawyer who ever does any of that. But notice what is missing from the picture: divorces, wills, real-estate closings, personal injury, criminal defense. Most lawyers routinely deal with matters such as those.

      Thus the scamsters deliberately construct the practice of law as a romantic fantasy quite unrecognizable to any practitioner. And they claim that "the world DOES need another lawyer" because all of the sexy, glamorous, important, and highly paid work is not getting done. Today's lawyers, one presumes, all gravitate to thankless, workaday, poorly paid matters.

      As for minority groups, they're just the last big exploitable population that is eligible for federally guaranteed student loans.

    2. "rubbing elbows with athletes and monarchs"

      And don't forget the movie stars and Nobel laureates!

  9. "You mean I won't get a job prosecuting dolphin poachers at the international courts in the Hague???? Oh well, there's always space law."

    - concerned Indiana Tech 0L

    1. The problem is that for every lefty environmentally flipper-loving job that actually comes with a salary, there are 500 inhouse jobs with the flipper decimaters. If you actually like eating every now and again, chances are you're going to be prosecuting flipper for interfering with trade lanes instead of trying to save him from the tuna nets.

    2. That's quite correct. To the extent that "environmental law" exists, it's about circumventing laws, bypassing regulations, promoting "efficient" forms of pollution, and otherwise advancing corporate interests.

  10. I just took the exam and according to the results, I answered more questions indicating an interest in intellectual property law than any other field. After reviewing the questions again, I honestly don't see the connection between any of the answers and intellectual property law (the difference between a brand v. logo T-shirt is strained--there was no option for just a plain T-shirt). Stating that this test is "just for fun" is cynical when the agenda is obvious.

  11. Question 1: What Is Your Favorite Alcoholic Beverage?
    1. A Fresh, Sparkling Blueberry-Mint Julep (Whee!!! Elle Woods!!!)
    2. A Snappy Cosmopolitan (Just like Carrie!)
    3. An Old-Fashioned (Women RESPECT a successful lawyer!)
    4. Rum And Coke (Successful, party-animal talent agent)
    5. Gut-rot moonshine, in a plastic cup.

    Question 2: Which Legal Area is Most Interesting to You?
    1. Helping Retarded Dolphins Solemnize Their Gay Marriage
    2. In-House Counsel at an International Cosmetics Company
    3. M&A Work at a V10 Firm
    4. Springing Hollywood A-Listers out of Jail
    5. Low budget DUI work

    Question 3: What is your ideal sexual partner like?
    1. Tall, attractive, successful, and super popular!
    2. Classically attractive, with a penthouse apartment in Manhattan.
    3. Utterly gorgeous, but wants to look after kids.
    4. Barely legal, fully hot, and willing to let you snort coke off another person's ass.
    5. A potbellied hooker with Parkinson's.

    Question 4: What is your dream car?
    1. A pink Miata!
    2. A BMW M6.
    3. Aston-Martin Vanquish.
    4. A Bugatti Veyron.
    5. A 1998 Honda Civic.

    If you chose number 5 for all four questions, you know what you're in for. If you chose any other options, you are probably going to law school.

    1. Until a few months ago I drove a 2000 Honda Civic. Are you trying to tell me something?

    2. I drive a 2001 Honda Accord.

      Why in the world did you get rid of the Civic?

      Was there something wrong with it?

    3. I drive a 2002 Accord as a personal vehicle. All of my construction equipment is newer.

    4. Low-lying cars don't hold up well in an icy and snowy climate. That Civic was still a great car after fifteen years, but I was tired of costly repairs attributable to corrosion from harsh winters. Otherwise I would have kept it. I was sorry to let it go.

      I hadn't even heard of the other cars in the list above. Bugatti, however, rings a bell. During law school, something about "a Bugatti" came up on an exam. I took that to mean a painting by an artist named Bugatti…

  12. Hey OTLSS Team, I got some OT but still interesting news for you...

    Batten down the hatches, because there might be yet another surge in lemmings headed towards law school; Reese Witherspoon is apparently discussing the idea of a "Legally Blonde 3"!

    By the way, I just found this other blog not too long ago...
    Have you ever seen or read this one before? Might it be worth adding to the blogroll?

  13. Somewhat off-topic so let me apologize in advance.

    2 things:

    1) Type "Old Economy Steve" (caps / no caps) using quotes into Google. Select "Images". Pretty much sums things up, IMO.

    2) The only people living the kind of lifestyle these academic scumbuckets are portraying is.. wait for it... surprise.. the academic scumbucket Dream Peddlers themselves. This, btw, in reference to an above comment also left me feeling slightly nauseated at first blush. It's a visceral, gut reaction it seems.

    The feeling took me back to an earlier post here, namely this one:


    The people peddling this c**p are the ones actually able to and are living the Dream. The people being peddled to have especially no chance because law is all about coming from the right connections, social class, background and family wealth. That is, I suppose, why I feel this is all the more reprehensible.

    There is no end to the willingness of those in education to throw people's lives under the bus to feather their own nests. This is America as a whole as well but since those in education constantly crow about how "noble" and "self-sacrificing" their mission is, it's more disgusting that it's a mere facade.

  14. Psychometricians who develop highly sophisticated neuropsychological tests like the MMPI are aware of a flaw in testing known as face validity. Essentially a test taker knows what a question with a high degree of face validity is trying to test. This presents a problem when trying to test for sociopathy, for instance. For a test taker who has no problem lying in an attempt to fake good, a question that obviously tests for sociopathic tendencies is of no value (e.g. I think it is okay to steal. A-Yes B-No). So testmakers use questions with low face validity--questions that are experimentally known to correlate to personality traits without revealing exactly what those traits may be. The first question on the MMPI is, "I like mechanics magazines." Somehow that measures a dimension of personality, but not in any obvious way. I bet all that ABA money went to hiring a team of PhDs to develop an ultra-sophisticated test that reveals to the test taker their true destiny in law, without fear that unconscious biases may creep in and cause the taker to alter answers in an undesirable way. Hence the seemingly baffling questions about first dates, movies, etc. Yes, extreme effort was put into creating this test to ensure its validity. That must be it!

    1. That question about mechanics magazines probably was intended to identify homosexuals. An entire scale of the MMPI is devoted to this purpose. (Homosexuality was considered a psychosis when the MMPI was developed.) It turns out not to work well at all, especially for women. But there are lots of items that are linked to gender roles. A woman who endorses numerous items about liking mechanics magazines or the job of a forest ranger will get a deviant score on the MMPI's "Masculinity/Femininity" scale. Ditto a man who would like to be a ballet dancer or a nurse. Such stereotyped junk was designed to expose gay people, believe it or not.

    2. That's seems highly likely since the question was rumored to replace "I like having sex with people of the same gender", which garnered shockingly few affirmative responses in the early days of the exam.