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Tucker Max Explains 'Why You Shouldn't Go to Law School'

I have spent a decent amount of time through the years reading the various exploits of Tucker Max on his website. Don't head over to if you are easily offended -- indeed, the entire site is prefaced with the following introduction/warning:

I get excessively drunk at inappropriate times, disregard social norms, indulge every whim, ignore the consequences of my actions, mock idiots and posers, sleep with more women than is safe or reasonable, and just generally act like a raging dickhead. But, I do contribute to humanity in one very important way. I share my adventures with the world. They are known as ... THE TUCKER MAX STORIES.

After quickly attracting an audience to his unique brand of "fratire" years ago, Tucker Max branched out into writing books (three New York Times best sellers to date) and co-wrote and produced a movie based on his life. Prior to Max's various successes in the media world, he attended and graduated from Duke Law School in 2001, but apparently did not practice law or work in a law firm other than a summer associate position at Fenwick & West. Perhaps predictably, the stint at Fenwick & West ended after a drunken night that, long story short, resulted in the firm's hiring partner offering Max a choice of either "withdrawing" from the program and receiving about $20,000 in compensation; or getting fired and receiving nothing. Max took the $20,000 and withdrew from the summer program.

Over a decade later, Max has now started a blog called It's Up to You (via Constitutional Daily) with Nils Parker, the co-writer of his movie, that will offer "real, no bullshit advice on topics of interest to young adults." It is unclear how often the blog will venture into issues touching on the law or the legal profession as it develops, but its first post ("Why You Shouldn’t Go To Law School") is a warning shot to anyone thinking about going to law school, as both Max and Parker did:

At some point in their life, everyone thinks they should go to law school. You may in fact think you want to go to law school now. You’re wrong. I don’t know you, I have no idea what the facts of your life are, but that doesn’t matter, you aren’t the exception:

For the overwhelming majority of people  (>99.9%), law school is the wrong choice.

In the post, Max and Parker lay out the "6 Wrong Reasons To Go To Law School," and explain in no uncertain terms why they believe reasons are quite misguided. These include:

1. "I like arguing and everyone says I’m good at it."

The authors deem this reason "the worst by a large margin. Know who else likes arguing? Sports talk radio hosts, cable news talking heads and teenaged girls -- i.e., idiots. If you like to argue just for the sake of being contentious, you shouldn’t pick a job based on this unresolved emotional issue of yours, you should get counseling for it." They explain that the practice of law includes very little "arguing" in thje conventional sense and "if arguing is really why you want to go to law school, save your money and start a blog about American politics where you can shout into the echo chamber of imbeciles all you want without bothering anyone smart who has shit to do."

Amen. I can only assume that the people spouting this as a reason to head to law school got it from the same bunch of non-lawyer parents I know who all tell me their kid will surely be a great lawyer because he won't stop arguing with them.

6. "I want to make a lot of money."

Using some of the recent data on law school debt, Max and Parker explain that not only are you highly unlikely to get one of the rare entry-level Big Law jobs paying the big bucks, but even if you do, you will work so many hours that you may end up making about $50/hour while simultaneously hating your life.

In between numbers 1 and 6 above, Max and Parker take on commonly stated reasons for going to law school such as "I want to change the world," "I don’t know what else to do," and several other reasons. Check out their full argument on "Why You Shouldn’t Go To Law School" here.

Posted by Bruce Carton on May 7, 2012 at 04:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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