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Did Reading Law Blogs Help You Decide To Go to Law School?

I've gotten occasional messages from people who said that reading the Conspiracy, or other blogs, helped lead them to go to law school. Did that happen to you? If so, we'd love to hear about it in the comments. I leave to others to decide whether the blogs should be given credit for this, or given blame.

Alexander Kerdman (mail):
When Lawrence came down, I was intrigued, and read lots of commentary, including on this blog. I liked what I saw, and eventually I started law school in Fall of 2004.
7.8.2005 2:23pm
Alla (mail) (www):
I'm still an undergrad, but reading your blog has convinced me that I want to go to law school. I'd always been interested in politics, but in a sort of disgusted way. I always find all the legal theorizing on your site fascinating; it made me realize that law encompasses my interests and honors the Constitution.
I still have two years left, but I can't wait to get to law school...thanks!
7.8.2005 2:31pm
Jonathan M (mail) (www):
My original reason for going to law school was a love of legal philosophy. My current reason for going to law school is probably closer to a desire to participate in the legal debates and community - of which I began to become aware through this blog and others,
7.8.2005 2:32pm
Greg (mail) (www):
Absolutely. Blogs such as Lawrence Lessig's, Grokster and others related to SCO v. IBM fueled my interest in the law. I come from a technical background in computer science and stumbled into the law blogsphere by accident more than anything. Before long the list of law related blogs I read on a daily basis was up near a dozen. The quality of writing in the legal blogsphere is quite high compared to many non-law related blogs which I read daily. The quality of writing is what makes law blogs such an asset and drew me towards law school.
7.8.2005 2:35pm
Cheburashka (mail):
If the correlation proves positive, I believe it should be "blame."
7.8.2005 2:45pm
William Spieler (mail) (www):
Not blogs, but law and politics related forums.
7.8.2005 2:50pm
Birkel (mail) (www):
People influenced to attend law school after reading blogs are likely to be sorely disappointed. Blogs cut through a lot of the pretense of the legal academy.

Examples:
**Blogs consider the politics behind decisions while law school rarely does.
**Blogs don't deal in prongs or tines while law school does.
**Blogs don't try to tie two incompatible decisions into a legal doctrine while, you guessed it, law school does.
**On blogs you can ignore the gunners and idiots while in law school they waste an inordinate amount of time that could be better spent drinking.
**Et cetera.

Or at least that's my experience.
7.8.2005 2:52pm
jwilcox1024:
I will be applying to law schools this upcoming application cycles. Blogs were not a major factor in my decision to attend law school, but they certaintly played a role. I had reached a point in my life where I realized my current career path was not what I wanted to be doing anymore. After a few months of introspection and reading I decided law school was probably the best fit for my current interests.

I then turned to this blog, How Appealing, and others as a testing ground for my interest. I wanted to make sure I enjoyed thinking about the issues raised on blogs as well as enjoy/stomach reading the actual opinions linked to. After several months of this I have come to the conclusion I passed the test.

The more interesting question to me, though, is how blogs influence decisions on which schools to apply to.
7.8.2005 3:15pm
yas (mail):
Yes, reading law blogs has made the decision to apply to law school much easier. Previously, I had considered law as simply a paying career which I could perform well in. Now I find myself fascinated by the legal discussions on the blogs.

I've been reading the Volokh Conspiracy every day for about a year now and will be applying to law school in the Fall.
7.8.2005 3:27pm
David Magana (mail):
I discovered the conspiracy a few years ago through links from blogs with a more political/news orientation. Before that point I was simply a news junkie who was finishing a useless undergrad degree, thinking about starting another doomed Internet business. What really captured my interest here was the legal analysis from a viewpoint (or bias) that I could relate to. This remains the only law related page that I check every day.

I just finished my 1L year, and I can safely say that I would not be at law school had I not found this website. I'm having a lot of fun right now, and I'm glad I made the jump. But don't worry, I still plan on starting misguided tech ventures after I graduate.
7.8.2005 3:29pm
Nick l:
This blog helped me decide not to go to law school. I came quite close to attending U of C but something was holding me back. I wanted to learn about the law but lacked any strong desire to practice. Sites like Volokh allow me to get my legal fix while saving 3yrs and $200k!
7.8.2005 3:37pm
Dave! (mail) (www):
Yes, in a way, they did. Sorry, I did not discover VC until after I'd decided to attend law school...

My wife is an attorney and I have a background in software development/entrepreneurship (having started two software development companies, one successful, one not so much). It was reading Groklaw, of all things, where PJ frequently posted the text of IBM and SCO's motions that really got me hooked.

As the case progressed (or regressed) I found that I actually enjoyed reading the motions and arguments. And so, here I am, 2L rising...

...and so far I still enjoy reading cases, motions, briefs and the like.
7.8.2005 3:47pm
Adam K (mail):
No, but reading legal/political blogs has made me very glad that I went to law school, as it gave me the tools I need to wade through the knee-deep piles of BS found on most blogs (except, of course, Eugene's estemmed blog).
7.8.2005 4:00pm
Sean (mail):
No, but law school buddies steered me towards legal blogs. I'll be forever grateful.
7.8.2005 4:08pm
Erin (mail) (www):
Reading VC made me wish I'd gone to law school. (My engineering doctorate is gathering dust while I raise my kids.)
7.8.2005 4:10pm
JamesT:
Blame. Oh yes, blame. Blame heaped upon your head for for encouraging more people into law school. As if the world needs more lawyers. As I read what one attorney said to his son, "They should line up all the lawyers and shoot every third one. I will take my chances."
7.8.2005 4:32pm
Anon:
Now I feel old: I went to law school after seeing Richard Epstein on a Supreme Court term review on CSpan, in the mid-90's.

Back in my day, if you wanted to be a non-lawyer/law student geek, you had to watch the television. None of this fancy computer stuff...
7.8.2005 4:36pm
Stevethepatentguy:
I think that anyone who is motivated by blogs to go to law school should be warned that the average lawyer doesn't ever face the issues contemplated in most of the law blogs. Certainly the rarified legal air in Volokh is not representative of standard legal fare.

Is there a blog of some guy grinding out his third basic will of the day or just back from fighting over the lawn furniture in a messy divorce? If so, anyone motivated by Volokh should read that one too before marching off to law school to start their Supreme Court practice.
7.8.2005 4:51pm
Kim Plaintive (mail) (www):
I'm only going to law school to get comic material for my own blog.
7.8.2005 4:57pm
ardbeg78 (mail):
I agree with Stevethepatentguy. This blog is great for issues that come up in an academic setting, and gives readers a good idea of what goes on in the legal acadamy. But unless the prospective student is going to law school with the sole intent of becoming an academic or appellate advocate limited to esoteric issues (which may be very important, but don't come up for litigation all that frequently), basing a career decision on a blog about legal/political issues would be a bad mistake. Anyone seeking a more traditional career in legal practice would be well advised to check out (any one of) the GreedyAssociates message board(s) for a peek at what it's like after having spent the 3 years and incurring $200,000 in debt.
7.8.2005 5:15pm
John P. (mail):

Is there a blog of some guy grinding out his third basic will of the day or just back from fighting over the lawn furniture in a messy divorce?



Yes, sort of. Go to http://uncivillitigator.blogspot.com/
7.8.2005 6:10pm
Amanda (mail) (www):
No, it was reading drafts of legal and political manuscripts, followed by taking a course at the Law School that was also open to undergrads, that led me to apply to law school. I'm not sure I knew what blogs were at that time (fall 2002). Whether or not I've actually decided to go is an oscillating answer (leaning towards yes), but unlikely affected by legal blogs.
7.8.2005 6:31pm
Thief (mail) (www):
I will be trying my hand at law school applications this year. Reading the Conspiracy, along with a few others (How Appealing, Legal Affairs' Debate Club, Pejmanesque, Bainbridge, Overlawyered) were major influences in the decision. You guys showed me there's more to law than just billable hours, back-scratching, and getting your rear end handed to you every day in law school. There are challenges, and opportunities too.

My dad always told me that if you find a job you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life. A few days ago I found myself reading that article on the treaty clause on SSRN... on my lunchbreak. I would have laughed at the thought of doing that not too long ago. You turned a minor interest of mine into an avocation. You turned me into a law nerd. I don't know whether to curse you or thank you.

(And lest anyone here think I'm naive: I work at a law school now, so I know what to expect!)
7.8.2005 6:35pm
Sean Sirrine (mail) (www):
Thanks Eugene for giving me the chance to include my story of how your blog affected my career choice.

I planned on attending law school four years ago when I began my undergrad degree. If it had been possible to go straight to law school I would have, but I'm happy I got to spend 4 years learning economics. Towards the end of my undergrad I had mixed feelings on attending law school right away. I thought long and hard about getting my PHD first, and talked to many professors about this choice.

A professor that taught me more than I wanted to know about the political nature of the law came up to me one day and said, "you know, I read this blog called the Volokh Conspiracy, and this professor Eugene Volokh is always discussing the same topics you seem to be interested in. In fact, I think he is a libertarian like you!"

A libertarian law professor discussing important legal material! Why hadn't I heard of this? Well, because I had no clue what a blog was. As far as I knew, blogs were just personal journals or diaries.

So last fall I examined my first blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, and instantly I became addicted. Finally, I had a place to go and read about the law, not the crap I'd been watching on CNN. Being interested in appellate work, your blog also introduced me to Howard Bashman, which I read instead of the morning newspaper now.

I've been given lots of advice that my desire to be a constitutional law expert specializing in appellate work was not very workable. After reading your blog, however, I became convinced that the legal work I wanted to do was very much possible and very exciting.

So, The Volokh Conspiracy convinced me to go straight to law school to pursue my dreams, and now I find myself constantly blogging on legal issues. Not only do I read the Conspiracy everyday, but I hope to one day join the ranks of the prolific writers here.

Thanks Eugene!
7.8.2005 6:55pm
adam (mail) (www):
I think that anyone who is motivated by blogs to go to law school should be warned that the average lawyer doesn't ever face the issues contemplated in most of the law blogs. Certainly the rarified legal air in Volokh is not representative of standard legal fare.

I concur. Read Kermit Roosevelt's new novel IN THE SHADOWS OF THE LAW for more. You might love law school because you enjoy the issues here, but that doesn't mean you'll find a happy setting to practice law afterwards.
7.8.2005 6:55pm
John P. (mail):
Adam is correct that the kinds of issues routinely discussed here on VC rarely if ever come up in typical law practice. HOWEVER, issues that repay deep thinking similar to the deep thinking that goes on here come up regularly in many practice areas. I just finished writing a brief dealing with a default judgment that raised all sorts of interesting issues (interesting to me, anyway). If your lawyer screws up, should you have to suffer the consequences or should you get a second chance? Does it make a difference if the screw-up is covered by your lawyer's malpractice insurance? What is it about service of process that magically entitles someone to get a money judgment against you if you fail to show up at a certain place on a certain day? In law school, discussions like this can seem trivial, but once you have a client with money on the line, they can become very exciting indeed.
7.8.2005 7:54pm
Sarah (mail) (www):
Three things made me decide to go (well, I still have to get a decent score on the LSAT before I really do decide for sure): mock trial as an undergrad (and a brief stint as a juror in a special law school/environmental geology class exercise), lawyer/law blogs (mostly Volokh, Gordon Smith, and XRLQ,) and my mom being in law school now (sometimes I help out with her law journal stuff, and with getting books for her other classes; she graduates in April.) Mostly all of those affirmed that law (both the "boring" stuff most lawyers actually do and the cool ethereal stuff the academic law types talk about) was both interesting and also possible for me. I was definitely relieved to visit these blogs and attend some of my mom's classes and realize that I could actually keep up.
7.8.2005 8:42pm
CM (www):
Not this blog specifically, but yes, blogs did influence my decision to go to law school. For the lawyers who are concerned about potential law students being misled by big constitutional issues, don't worry. There are lots of blogs out there by PDs, DAs, solo practitioners who are just starting out, and all sorts of other lawyers who aren't just debating academic issues. I'd been thinking about law school for a while and turned to blogs for a firsthand look at what law school and practice were like.
7.8.2005 8:58pm
Anton (mail) (www):
Blogs (special credit to the VC here) introduced me to the idea that there was such a thing as legal academia, that what they do is interesting and (hopefully) fun, and that I might want to be part of it. So I'll be going to [one of the 20 schools in the top 10] in the fall.

I'll let you know if credit or blame is merited in three years.
7.8.2005 9:02pm
Michael:
Yes, I think you should get some of the blame. I think I would have ended up moving in this direction anyway, but reading your blog somewhat regularly did probably steer me towards pursuing law school, even when I was studying another subject (coincidentally enough, computer science).
7.8.2005 10:46pm
jurisprude:
Reading blawgs didn't help me decide to go to law school, but reading VC helped me decide to take a class with Orin Kerr.
7.9.2005 11:05am