In a country, actually an entire planet, overwhelmed by suffering and oppression, the downtrodden cry out for assistance. Their humble request is for more law school graduates to analyze subordination for them, and provide them with much-needed leadership. But American law schools, though fantastical places that provide their students with super-cerebral analytical and problem-solving skills, have gone astray. You see, law students, their values distorted by a greedy culture, crave Bentley cars and private jets, rather than service and justice, and the complacent schools have not provided appropriate correction. So to all you recent law school grads and law students, one can only ask: where is your shame? Instead of hankering for a private jet, why not adjust your goals and values to accord with those of the fictional character Atticus Finch? Why not craft a more just and caring society, as your law professors taught you to do through their principled critiques of the status quo and their explanations of your professional responsibilities?
If you think that the paragraph you just read is a preposterous and incoherent attempt at parody, then read the following quotes from Fordham Law Professor Hazel Weiser, a long-time honcho of the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT). Unfortunately, my rhetorical exaggerations are slight. As the quotes demonstrate, I am actually summarizing her views.
1. "At a time when our country, actually the entire planet, needs a large and diverse reservoir of talented civic leaders with analytical capacity, problem solving, and mediation skills, law school seems like a fantastic educational option."
2. "That battle over curricular content has not succeeded in striking down the pervasive myth, fueled by a culture of greed, that a career in law is the road to a Bentley, a Rolex, and a private jet. Where is Atticus Finch! Law is a service profession. Somehow that has gotten lost."
3. "Amidst the discouraging stream of newspaper articles and blogs this summer demonizing law school deans, accusing university presidents of raiding law school tuition revenues, and suggesting a giant conspiracy to cover up the fact that there are very few $160,000 a year jobs for recent law school graduates, it appears that only the oblivious might consider enrolling in law school this fall. I beg to disagree. Now is the right time to encourage students from diverse racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds to consider a legal education. We cannot allow the legal profession a detour from its mission to produce lawyers and leaders from all communities due to the economic downturn."
4. "[W]here we have been complacent is not fighting back as we saw the culture of our schools shift, no matter what tier, dangling a starting salary of $160,000 instead of desperately trying to attract students who might have an interest to open a community-serving practice. With student debt so high, and the economics of law practice evolving, that career path faded under the false promise of celebrity and riches."
5. "So many of us here at the AALS [Association of American Law Schools] dreamed of the day when we would be the professor in the classroom, untangling the meaning of law, inciting students to question the analysis of subordination and the status quo, crafting a more just and caring civil society."
6. "SALT has worked to change the culture of legal education by insisting upon a curriculum rich with a principled critique of our liberal democracy and an understanding that it is an attorney’s professional responsibility to improve the quality of the legal system and increase access to justice."Here is a request to Weiser and other law professors. Do you think you can work on being a little less self-righteous and a little more reflective? SALT's publication is called The Equalizer. Why don't you offer a "principled critique" of the inequality between six-figure salaried law professors with tenure and six-figure indebted law students with dismal career prospects? You have made yourselves rich and cozy off the misplaced trust and astonishing debt loads of bright but naive 22-26 year olds, most of whom will end up as debt slaves for decades, and many of whom will be unable to carve out a place in a glutted profession. If you do not challenge that status quo, that "subordination," then your recent graduates and others in the profession will regard you as contemptible hypocrites. With justice.
quotes 1 and 3: https://www.saltlaw.org/blog/2011/08/17/in-defense-of-a-legal-education/
quotes 2, 4, and 6: http://www.saltlaw.org/blog/2013/05/17/chasing-the-kardashians/
quote 5: http://www.saltlaw.org/blog/2011/06/24/from-the-aals-workshop-for-new-law-teachers/