This is an era of rampant and distressing cynicism and mistrust, especially among our nation's downwardly-mobile and debt-drenched youth. Therefore, we at OTLSS find it moving that there are still students who adhere to the upbeat perspective best expressed by the Beach Boys, circa 1963: "So be true to your school. Rah rah rah rah sis boom bah. Just like you would to your girl or guy." That the Beach Boys's lyrics did not specify law schools owned by rapacious private equity firms and featuring bottom-of-the-barrel bar passage and employment rates can only be attributed to faulty songwriting.
The commentary below was written by a person who identifies himself as Warren Bingham, President of the Arizona Summit Student Bar Association. It was submitted as a thread comment on on our last post, which is entitled "Is Arizona Summit's 2016 Legal Residency Fellowship Program designed to persuade law grads to delay taking the bar exam?"
Mr. Bingham’s comment deserves its own headline post. A blog like this should not be a mere echo chamber of negativity about law schools. True, we at OTLSS may not be completely comfortable with being deemed malicious, ignorant, immature, incomplete, or speaking about things that do not concern us. But we have thick skins, and besides, harsher things have been said about us by the legal academy's leading philosophers, econometricians, and film critics.
Our appreciation for Mr. Bingham’s contribution comes with a caveat. As revealed on this blog, the Arizona Summit (ASLS) student handbook requires that "persons who choose to associate with ASLS actively support its mission, culture, and business purposes and not engage in activities or conduct that are detrimental to the brand, image, or values of InfiLaw or ASLS." Free and lively debate remains the pride of our faltering democracy. However, an official who asserts the good intentions and noble practices of his dissent-squelching institution, even in an unfriendly forum, may be doing the duty of a shill rather than that of a citizen.
If a student doesn't feel "ready" to take the bar, is it so negative to study for an extra few months before taking the exam? Is the extra support really an issue?
Based upon the author's biased article, I imagine that he would respond to my questions by saying something along the lines of, "they would be 'ready' if they didn't attend a TTTT school" or "those jobs are handouts."
The truth is, the school has low bar passage rates and is expensive. At this point, I think that's it's pretty safe to assume we all know this. Law school, in general, is not easy, nor is it cheap.
So with information as attainable as this, why would it be necessary to share these facts in an article about the Fellowship program? Why would the author choose to devalue the efforts of the school to help improve its bar passage rates? Why would the author choose to, potentially, harm the students that chose to extend study for a few months, with financial security, by making them feel as though they're not good enough?
From corner to corner, the program aids all parties involved. So why is it such a bad thing? All I can seem to find in this article is malice.
If a Summit student passes the Bar 6 months after she graduates, does that make her any less of a lawyer?
Sometimes I wonder what would possess people to act so ignorantly. More astonishingly, when speaking on things don't even concern them.
If attacking the school and its students makes you feel more complete, then by all means -- do so. Fill that void that you're missing in your life. But understand that there are some that may feel it's not the most mature use of your time.
SBA President of Arizona Summit Law