By A Law School Graduate
Graduating from law school reminds me of the part from George Orwell’s Animal Farm where Boxer, the horse, finally collapses after many years of hard work. His friends make sure that he gets adequate rest and they come to talk to him. He tells them how he wants to retire and spend his final days leisurely relaxing in the field. After spending two days resting, a van shows up to take him away. Boxer had been the hardest working of the animals on the farm and the other animals gathered to say goodbye to him. Benjamin the donkey is the only one who notices that something is afoul and he cries out “Fools! Fools! Do you not see what is written on the side of that van?” On the side of the van is written “Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler.” The animals chase after the van and tell Boxer to get out. Boxer tries to kick down the door but he is too weak. The animals plead with the horses that are drawing the van but the horses are too stupid to stop. Boxer is never seen again. Three days later, the pigs, who are the leaders of the farm, announce that Boxer died in the hospital. They describe the heroic manner in which he died and praise his work. They plan to create a wreath to send to his grave and to hold a banquet in his honor. They also explain that the van had previously been the property of the horse slaughterer, and had been bought by the doctor, who had not yet painted over the old name out. It was all just a big misunderstanding. A few days later a van drops off a case of whiskey, apparently the price the pigs paid in exchange for boxer.
How does all this relate to law school? The graduating students are Boxer. After three years of hard work they are finally done. They have paid their dues. Over $150,000 in dues for some. Instead of wanting to relax in the field, they want the right to get a job in the legal market. The van coming to take them away to the slaughter is law school. After finally finishing law school, there is a graduation ceremony. Our friends and relatives show up to celebrate. But sadly in this situation, no one plays the role of Benjamin. No one is brave enough to point out the writing on the side of the van. Here the writing says “Indebtedness and Unemployment.” At this point it is too late to try to kick down the door of the van. We could have tried first year, or maybe even second, but at this point it is too late. What’s done is done. We can try to plead with the idiotic horses (the 1Ls and newly incoming students) to stop pulling the van by giving their money, but they are too stupid to listen. At graduation the pigs (the deans, the faculty, the CDO) will hail our performance and accomplishments at the school. The writing doesn’t say “Indebtedness and Unemployment!” It is all just a big misunderstanding! You will all be successful, you will all get jobs, the economy will improve! The pigs will then go home and use the money they earned from selling you to the slaughterer to buy their big homes, fancy cars, and expensive liquor. They will then report back to the rest of the animals that you secured a fancy job, that the average pay is $120,000 a year, and that you are now prominent attorneys. Little do they know that they are next and that soon the van will show up to take them to slaughter. And so the cycle continues.