Seeking to improve one’s writing (any kind of writing) is, of course, laudable. But there are an awful lot of bad products out there that, while claiming to help your writing, are likely to do just the opposite. I’m referring today to all writing, but in particular email, since it’s a big percentage of the writing that most of us do.
One of the simplest ways to try to make your writing better, but in fact make it worse, is to try to boost your vocabulary. This is not to say vocabulary doesn’t matter; it does. But because learning more words is a lot easier than building up skills that good writing requires, it’s easy to see vocabulary as a quick way to improve. But growing your vocabulary should be the last rather than the first step to improving your writing.
With law firms and law schools in crisis, federal and state governments paralyzed, and the citizens restless and weary of more of the same cynicism and cowardice, we need a comic book hero, someone to inspire us and give us reason to hope for a brighter day.
We now have one. His name is Nathaniel Burney, and he’s a lawyer who wrote a comic book. Keep Reading ⇒
Law professors and bloggers Eugene and Sasha Volokh have posted torts exams at The Volokh Conspiracy for fun. Torts, if you are thinking about going to law school, is pretty much a microcosm of what law school is all about. You study for an entire semester only to spend 3+ hours so that you can parse a question like this:
That’s right, tell your parents to stop bragging. It’s not like you are a doctor, or anything.
Getting a law degree, passing the bar, and getting a license to practice law is no big deal. Not anymore. More than 40,000 law students do it every year. (That’s just a few more people than starters at the Boston Marathon in 1996.) Anyone with an LSAT score who wants to go to law school will be able to go, because law schools are in it for the money, not the prestige, and loans are easy to get.
To put that number in perspective, law schools admitted 60,400 first year JD students two years ago. Since a significant percentage of applicants are unwilling to consider enrolling at any school below a certain hierarchical level, and/or will decline to enroll at certain other schools without receiving massive discounts on the advertised tuition price, these numbers portend fiscal calamity for more than a few schools. But out of that calamity will come the beginnings of a more rational and just system of legal education for the next generation of lawyers.
Hopefully a smaller number of applicants will sufficiently impact the number of practitioners in the coming years to help restore the balance between the number of practicing lawyers and the legal work available (if such a thing ever existed). I don’t doubt that correcting the heavy over-population of lawyers will take more than a few years, but this seems like a rather significant drop in the number of law school applicants. It would be nice to have the numbers correct themselves naturally, rather than requiring a Clone Wars-type culling of superfluous attorneys.
A local law school Dean recently commented that women seem to be backsliding in the legal profession. She cited lower female enrollment in law schools, lack of women in law firm leadership positions, and stagnant growth in the ranks of women in the judiciary. Her comment surprised me. Are women losing ground in law? Perhaps it’s time to look at some statistics.
“It was surprising to see both the agitators and the establishment on the list,” said Jack Crittenden, Editor in Chief of the National Jurist. “The list is a who’s who of the people who have shaped the discussion over the past year, which has been a challenging and pivotal year. While some have shaped discussion through traditional means, others have stirred the pot more.”
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Lawyerist is written by a bunch of different people. Some are practicing lawyers, some are former practicing lawyers who are now doing other things related to law practice, and one or two aren't lawyers at all. Because lawyers don't know everything.