If you’re considering law school, maybe you should read this take from the folks over at Big Debt, Small Law along with all those glossy law school brochures.

Consider the typical, hapless TTT[*] law school grad: First she invested 100 K in a worthless undergrad degree like English Lit or Poli-Sci, then compounded this initial mistake by piling on 120 K or more in non-dischargeable law school loans, bought hook, line and sinker the materially fraudulent salary stats of her law school, endured the BarBri blather-thons, walked the hot coal hazing ritual of the bar’zam, and now finds herself coping with $1500 a month loan payments and a total lack of job opportunities.

I commented on the bimodal nature of lawyer salaries back in the good old days (2007), and I can guarantee you that the top salary hump has gotten a lot smaller in the intervening years.

Don’t get me wrong.  I still believe that the law is (or can be) an honorable profession and that the rule of law is an absolutely necessary condition for a free and prosperous society.  I’m just reminding everyone that there is no such thing as a free lunch, no matter what the admissions office says.  I cannot comprehend how a fourth tier school like Pace University can justify $39K a year in tuition.   How would you ever pay it back when good students from top tier schools are out of work?

However, my favorite quote from the diatribe is a side note about pro bono.

Thanks to a generation of propogandist “college for everyone” drivel, there’s an acute shortage of HVAC repair techs, plumbers, electricians, and other skilled tradesman. Don’t believe us? Call a plumber and a lawyer and see who can get there first. By the way, ask the plumber if he’s willing to install your faucets “pro bono” because you have no money. After all, running water is surely as important as your legal problems (and plumbers are VERY expensive), so just tell him he should do it for free in the public interest. Try the same thing with your auto mechanic, roofer, HVAC guy, and electrician. You’ll quickly find that only the “law” is so fixated on the merits of giving expensive professional services away to deadbeats for free. Here at Big Debt we’ve long argued against any and all pro bono work. Why? Because by so doing, one reinforces in the public’s mind that the service provided is worthless. This is especially true when rendering an “intangible” product like law, one that looks to a layperson like nothing more than a stack of very boring paperwork.

Justice should be free, right?

For context, a good CNC technician can make six figures without the bar dues and malpractice insurance, and no one ever asks them to give their work away for free.

(*Note: TTT stands for third tier toilet.)

Everything that is not prohibited is compulsory.

When the Supreme Court said that affirmative action in law school admission was not Unconstitutional, I don’t think they meant that it should be compulsory.  But, the ABA’s political agenda hasn’t had much to do with the actual law for years.

Outreach was not the problem; even the site evaluation report (obtained as a result of Freedom of Information Act requests) conceded that GMU had a “very active effort to recruit minorities.” But the school, the report noted, had been “unwilling to engage in any significant preferential affirmative action admissions program.” Since most law schools were willing to admit minority students with dramatically lower entering academic credentials, GMU was at a recruitment disadvantage. The site evaluation report noted its “serious concerns” with the school’s policy.

Over the next few years, the ABA repeatedly refused to renew GMU’s accreditation, citing its lack of a “significant preferential affirmative action program” and supposed lack of diversity. The school stepped up its already-extensive recruitment efforts, but was forced to back away from its opposition to significant preferential treatment. It was thus able to raise the proportion of minorities in its entering class to 10.98% in 2001 and 16.16% in 2002.

Worldmapper is a wonderful collection of world maps, using equal area cartograms, where territories are re-sized on each map according to a particular variable.  For example, this is a cartogram based on geographic area, pretty similar to the traditional world map with which we are all familiar.


This cartogram is based on population.  Notice that India and China are much larger proportionally, while Canada and Australia are much smaller.  Each country’s size is shown in proportion to its relative percentage of the world population.


Some interesting comparisons can be made, such as net immigration . . .


. . . versus net emigration.


Finally, having three young daughters, I didn’t find the toy imports surprising at all.


Most imports of toys (US$ net) are to the United States, followed by the United Kingdom. Toys are fun but not necessities. Thus toy imports give an indication of disposable incomes.

The lowest imports of toys (US$ net) per person are to territories in Africa and also Tajikistan (in the Middle East).

Interestingly enough, my daughters have some toys imported from Tajikistan, though I’m not sure I consider Tajikistan part of the Middle East.

This map has been making the rounds.  (HT Coyote Blog).  The map equates the GDP of various nations with individual states in the U.S.


The map reminds me of a recent study, EU versus USA, done by Swedish researchers Dr. Fredrik Bergström and Mr. Robert Gidehag.  The study compares GDP per capita of European countries with the GDP per capita of individual U.S. states to see where the European countries would fit in the hierarchy of U.S. states.  The study contains this chart.


It turns out that Sweden, that paragon of Scandinavian socialism would slot in at 46th, right after Alabama and ahead of Oklahoma.  Britain, France, Finland, Germany and Italy would fair a little worse at 47th, between Oklahoma and Arkansas.  With the exception of Luxemburg (a banking sector driven anomaly), the highest EU country would be Ireland at 38th.

The study also compares retail consumption and finds similar results.  82% of U.S. households have a clothes dryer compared to only 18% in Sweden.  I can’t tell you how much my wife loves line drying clothes.