Scalia: Too many smart people become lawyers

Discussion in 'West Mall' started by Laphroaig10, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. Laphroaig10

    Laphroaig10 1,000+ Posts

    I concur fully"

  2. alden

    alden 1,000+ Posts

    I agree with this.

    However, a lot of the people that I know that went into law didn't have another good option. That's what happens when you start off with a BA in liberal arts. It's hard to go into high tech, business, or art from that point.
  3. boon

    boon 100+ Posts

    one rebuttal: in order to create efficient markets (not in the strict economic sense) you must first have an extremely reliable and effective legal system. THis requires some of the best minds.

    another point might be: those that do invent things like the microchip and win nobel prizes are not likely to be ones that are debating whether to study physics or go to law school. For these people, law school would never be a serious thought. of course there will be exceptions.
  4. general35

    general35 5,000+ Posts

    However, a lot of the people that I know that went into law didn't have another good option. That's what happens when you start off with a BA in liberal arts. It's hard to go into high tech, business, or art from that point.

    this is true. a liberal arts degree is basically worthless unless you want a career in academics or the arts. it means some form of graduate school for those that want to do something else.
  5. GHoward

    GHoward 2,500+ Posts


    swap lawyers pay with those of socials workers/teachers, etc, all the sudden the smart people are doing those jobs.
  6. bozo_casanova

    bozo_casanova 2,500+ Posts

    I agree completely with Scalia, as I often do.

    And I disagree with whoever said you don't have many options as a liberal arts grad. Having worked in both finance and high tech in addition to owning my own businesses with a BA in liberal arts, I can safely say this is ********. You just don't have the professional crutch that a vocational or professional education provides. Don't get me wrong, I agree that the "degree" is worthless, but the education isn't, and at the end of the day we're all living by our wits.
  7. Laphroaig10

    Laphroaig10 1,000+ Posts

    Agree to a large extent with bozo. To reference someone who's generated her fair share of WM discussion lately, Carly Fiorina studied Medieval History in college. Say what you will about her, but she held a higher profile job and made more $$ than most likely any West Mall regular.

    However, I do think Scalia's point deserves a corollary that the posts in this thread are touching on: the state of quantitative education in America is pathetic. Go to any grad level program in anything that remotely involves math, and count how many Americans there are. It ain't many. Maybe not all of these people would end up in "worthless" degree programs if they had better backgrounds in math and science.
  8. UT Spring Branch

    UT Spring Branch 500+ Posts

    Scalia is brillant
  9. bozo_casanova

    bozo_casanova 2,500+ Posts

    Laphroaig, I agree completely with all of the above.
  10. Perham1

    Perham1 2,500+ Posts

  11. boon

    boon 100+ Posts

  12. bozo_casanova

    bozo_casanova 2,500+ Posts

  13. dallastx

    dallastx 100+ Posts

    Smart people do not say "you know" 5 times during a short remark like that. Shows a distinct lack of focus.
  14. alden

    alden 1,000+ Posts

  15. hornyhoosier

    hornyhoosier 500+ Posts

  16. THEU

    THEU 2,500+ Posts

    There is a question of the difference between education, wisdom, intelligence, and the ability to think.

    I remember in the mid 90s there was an increase of interest in businesses wanting high functioning liberal arts majors because they have recieved training in how to analyze situations and think through things that many business majors didn't have. A company often trains you to do your job, what they want is someone who can take that information base and apply it to the real world.
    A business degree is a vocational degree, not an academic one. Not to say that some of the people getting business degrees are not highly intelligent, even brilliant people. Their training is just different.
    I remember a mid term I had at UT. "Why did the Reformation come to the German speaking lands first?" That was the ENITIRE test. We had never discussed this, we had never even really hinted at this. We had to take the information from 7 weeks of lectures and readings and formulate our own cogent argument, in an hour, about why the Reformation happened in the German speaking lands. We had to talk about social, economic, political, and religious reasons and stream them together.
    I dare say that the test was a difficult one, but one that required much more than rote memorisation, or learning formulas and bubbling in answers.
    The fact is we need highly intelligent people in many many fields.
  17. boon

    boon 100+ Posts

    i think you could place MBAs and lawyers in the same class as far as what scalia is saying anyhow. Fiorina may have worked for HP but she certainly wasn't working on the cutting edge technology. she was more in the "enabling" game, to use scalia's words.
  18. Wild Bill

    Wild Bill 1,000+ Posts

    We need a lot more Americans getting degrees in engineering.
  19. Laphroaig10

    Laphroaig10 1,000+ Posts

  20. Bob in Houston

    Bob in Houston 2,500+ Posts

  21. Perham1

    Perham1 2,500+ Posts

  22. DigglerontheHoof

    DigglerontheHoof 1,000+ Posts

  23. buckhorn

    buckhorn 1,000+ Posts

  24. boon

    boon 100+ Posts

    just observing a fact in my personal case. there are potential long term economic problems for the country (i suppose), but economies change and adapt, so it's impossible to say for sure. We import many low wage jobs now from latin america, maybe we will do the same with high tech.
  25. triplehorn

    triplehorn 2,500+ Posts

    I had an interesting conversation this week with a lawyer whose partner is a judge. They both are very smart but are considering early retirement because of the way the legal landscape has changed over the course of their careers away from drawing distinctions and towards automated outcomes (i.e. mandatory sentencing). I realize that this hardly encapsulates all law experiences, but it strikes me as shift that over time might begin to ward off those looking for intellectual challenge and a way to make a personal difference in the work they do.
  26. blueglasshorse

    blueglasshorse 1,000+ Posts

    Within the category of really smart people, most lawyers fall into a subcategory of that group. Really smart people that want everyone to know how smart they and who are more concerned with their own well being than the well being of others.

    To the extent that laws become more numerous and more complicated in our society, lawyers become more necessary. most of our politicians are lawyers. I don't expect fewer people to become lawyers any time soon.
  27. Rayug

    Rayug 100+ Posts

    We need to identify those student who have the aptitude for science or math and provide them with opportunities to further their selected educational path. I was into science and math in high school..even did quite well in UIL science/math competitions etc etc.

    I wasn't interested in playing sports (I knew my career path was not going to be in sports.) I wasn't interested in being in any other student group like Spanish club, Future Homemakers of America, etc. My talents were in math and to a lesser degree the sciences. But in the end because I wasn't this well rounded student in high school it hurt me in terms of scholarships, admissions, etc. This was very frustrating when I was in my last two years of high school.

    I ended up going into the military for 3 years to pay for college cause I did not want to go into debt with student loans. What happened though was when I graduated with my undergrad degree in chemistry..I was 25 and I didn't want to go another 6-years for a PhD, I didn't want to be in my mid-30s before I could live my life outside of academics. The frustrating thing for me was that the last 2 years of high school were a waste, the math was simplistic, the science classes were pitiful. I could've easily stepped into a freshman class at a University after the 10th grade and had no problems at all.

    With all that I almost went down the path of being a lawyer or some other occupation to maximize my earning potential or a field off the map. (I almost went to the defense language institute in Monterey, CA) Today? I work to maximize the profits of my employer, make good money, own a few patents, published a few papers but could have I made a bigger contribution to mankind in helping to solve some our problems? Probably but that wasn't going to happen once I joined the army.

    I see that Texas now has TAMS (Texas Academy of Math and Science) but I wouldn't have been able to attend because my parents would not have paid for the housing. (and I wouldn't have qualified for assistance.) It should be completely free.
  28. THEU

    THEU 2,500+ Posts

    while math and science are important, I don't think our society, or any society for that matter has ever really failed for a lack of technology. In fact, I would be hard pressed to think of a culture that failed due to economic issues soley. Most nations/empires fall because of gluttony and a lack of morality. It is internal decadence that generally leads to a downward spiral. That or over reaching militarily..... hmm I wonder does this describe the US? Nah...
  29. NBMisha

    NBMisha 500+ Posts

    Well, the math and science majors aren't gluttons, egomaniacs, cheerleaders, nor jocks. Fewer math and science majors, more gluttons.

    Unless you mean gluttons for punishment.

    Of course I joke. Students pursue what they percieve society values. Society does not value math and science, in the messages our culture sends out. Like you, I'm not sure that's inherently bad or good. It does move those type jobs to other groups and countries, but, again, thats good for those groups, so what's so bad about that if "our" group isn't interested?
  30. longtex

    longtex Guest


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