Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
Don't Go To Law School (Unless): A Law Professor's Inside Guide to Maximizing Opportunity and Minimizing Risk Paperback – October 26, 2012
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
About the Author
Paul Campos is a Professor of Law at the University of Colorado. His previous books include The Obesity Myth, Jurismania, and Against the Law (with Pierre Schlag and Steve Smith). Campos publishes widely in the national media, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the New Republic, and many other publications. He writes a weekly column for Salon.com.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Before even cracking the cover of this book, one should note that this is one of the most-reviewed books on Law School available on amazon.com. Many of tomorrow's Lawyers will have read this book in their first exposure to the field. This, I maintain, is highly unfortunate. There are a couple of prima facie factors about this book which should send up red flags for anyone interested in the field of Law. First, this book is self-published. Despite his position as a Law Professor at a reasonably well-respected Law School (University of Colorado, Boulder), Campos was unable (or unwilling) to publish this book on a University press. This immediately signifies an uneasiness between Campos and the subject he writes about which, after all, is nestled snugly in academia. Second, it is important to take note of the other law-related books Campos has written and contributed to, which include "Juris-Mania: The Madness of American Law" and "Against The Law" ("a fundamental critique of American Legal thought", as can be found in the description on amazon). Clearly he has a bone to pick with the Legal profession writ large. This should provide us with enough evidence that this book is not seeking to encourage aspiring lawyers in any sense.
The contents of the book itself can be boiled down to a few salient points, which Campos repeats ad nauseam. Perhaps the most important point Campos makes is that Law School is expensive, and it would not always be a financially responsible decision to attend. If you plan on going to Law School without a significant scholarship, you have essentially two options if you want to avoid financial ruin: work for the Government (rarely acknowledged as a legitimate option by Campos), or work for a large Law Firm (of the kind often referred to as BigLaw online). Campos, however, conveniently ignores the fact that many Law Schools offer significant scholarships to a large proportion of their students to make the point that if one goes to Law School, one must, with very few exceptions, find a position in a "BigLaw" firm upon graduation, if only to make minimum student loan payments. If this were true, then Law School would be a horrible plan for nearly everyone who attends. This, however, is the crux of the argument. Campos wants to convince his readers that they should not attend Law School. At all costs. For those students unwilling to do a little research of their own, his arguments are likely to be convincing. After all, their kernel (that Law School is often expensive, and in general a bad way to get rich) is true. From this kernel of truth, which Campos has fertilized with his own dung, has sprung the fruit of deception. A paltry amount of effort will reveal the highly deceptive manner in which Campos presents his arguments, and the data they are derived from. Briefly review, for any Law School, the NALP (for employment and salary statistics) and Standard 509 (for scholarship information) statistics which are posted on their website. You will quickly learn that although Law School is not a good choice for everybody, it is certainly a decent career path for far more people than the upper crust of a 1T school, as Campos argument goes, in essence. The only way for him to maintain his position in the face of these statistics is to ignore them, or else claim that they are falsified. But if we can't trust the data this leaves us with only his anecdotes, of which he has no shortage, and seems to think that they all apply on a general level. Ambiguous words and phrases like "most", "almost never", and "probably" abound in his writings, and they aren't all backed up by data.
Over all, this book is of poor quality (not to even mention the flimsy, print-on-demand binding) in that it does not give a fair account of Law Schools and their effect on the employment of their graduates. It offers us instead a bile-spewing polemic, not at all a realistic picture of the situation. It does have one positive effect: that those who take its arguments seriously and do not have the motivation to seek substantiation are less likely to go to Law School. One who is so easily convinced by a mass of mangled data, appeals to authority, and other cheap tricks & fallacies is unlikely to make a good Law Student (or Lawyer). Campos may convince a lot of people with his arguments, but that doesn't mean that they are any good. So please, dear readers, if you're interested in Law School do your research, but don't let this book be your only exposure. Form your own conclusions based on the best, most comprehensive evidence available.
He mentions things that I knew, e.g. Socratic Method is ineffective, the vast majority of law school courses have no relevance to what lawyers actually do in their careers and are a waste of money, law schools don’t teach a lot of practical skills that lawyers need like attracting clients and collecting bills, etc. But he also taught me things I did not know and wish I knew when I was applying. For example, his chapter about law school scholarships was eye opening. And he indicates that because of the high costs of law school that have little relation to future remuneration, more law graduates than there are jobs available and technological changes that reduce the need for lawyers, lawyers with high amount of debt with bleak employment prospects will continue to be a trend for the foreseeable future. The criterion that Mr. Campos sets for it being a good idea to attend law school would exclude an upwards of 80 percent of law school applicants. We also are treated with gems like:
“Law schools are full of lawyer-academics who are neither lawyers nor academics. Consider the typical career path of people who join tenure-track faculties: after graduating with high grades from a fancy law school, they clerk for a federal judge, then work as junior associates for big law firms for two or three years (sometimes even less), doing the sort of low-level gloried clerical work that junior associates at big law firms generally do. These people then become “law professors.” In other words, these people have no formal training in how to do academic work beyond what they received in law school (which was none), nor they know about being lawyer [sic] than what they learned in law school, and in very short stints as a big firm associates (which was next to nothing).” (p. 9)
“Keep in mind that the only job track that pays enough to justify what is now the cost of law school for most law students is to either get a job with a big law firm upon graduation, or to secure a federal judicial clerkship and then go on to such a job…” (p. 76)
“…most people at most law schools who find themselves in the bottom half of the class after their first year would be better off dropping out.” (p.88)
“With few exceptions, law school is now something that only people who are willing to take on high levels of financial and personal risk should consider.” (p. 96)
Mr. Campos spends the latter third of the book advising law applicants that still want to apply to law school the best strategies to do so.
I wish this book were around when I were applying to law school. It is a grim book that sees little net positive on going to law school compared to the costs. Based on my experience, I can’t say I disagree with him.
Most recent customer reviews
He exposes the truth about law schools and educational debt