Showing posts with label Law School. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Law School. Show all posts
  • Studying Costs at US Law Schools: A Little Comparison with Indonesia

    I've just found this rather gloomy article accusing that some US law schools (mostly third and fourth tiers law schools) were tricking people to think that the super expensive tuition fee of those law schools is a good investment for their future, since in reality, many new law graduates later find out that they are succumbed to excessive amount of debt without any proper job to support the repayment. A pity indeed!

    Based on the data provided in this site and my own personal research, the general annual cost for studying at a US private university law school, whether it is a top tier or low tier one, is around US$65,000-US$70,000 (meaning that a law student needs to spend around US$200,000 to finish a 3 years JD course!). The cost can be cheaper though if it is a public university, but still, it's expensive from any point of view. If you are interested, you can see the data of various US law schools ranking here.

    With such huge amount of tuition fee and living expenses, no wonder law graduates are expecting to find a decent job that can help them to repay the loan as soon as possible. But, with a decline market for lawyers and the economic recession in the US (somehow the case is still the same for 2011), finding jobs are getting harder and harder for law graduates, and the situation is far worse for low tier graduates. Now, what surprises me is the fact that there are many people in the US who actually think that being enrolled in low ranked law schools can actually give them some advantages in competing with top tier graduates, especially when the tuition fees' discrepancy is relatively small. Are these people overestimated themselves, or are they simply the victims of an organized scam by law schools? Time will tell.

    If you ask me, I am more interested to know why US law schools are very expensive and whether the same will someday happen in Indonesia. As a comparison, the total tuition fee of my law education for 3.5 years (2001-2005) at the University of Indonesia, an Indonesian public university, is only US$980 (with an exchange rate of US$1 = Rp9,000). Try to compare this with the current annual tuition fee of the University of Washington School of Law, a public university in the US, which reaches US$22,267 for residents and US$32,777 for non-residents. I know that University of Indonesia's tuition fee has increased significantly for the last few years, but I am certain that the total amount is far cheaper than its counterparts in the US.

    Another interesting question, does the overall quality of top tier US law schools justify the expensive tuition fee? Hopefully yes, since I'll be going to one of them in September. Wish me luck :p
  • Thinking Like a Lawyer for Corporate Lawyers

    To be honest, I've practiced as a lawyer for more than 6 years and still, I don't know exactly what's the true meaning of thinking like a lawyer. Apparently, Prof. Bainbridge thinks that to enable more lawyers to think like a lawyer, law schools require more experienced lawyers than PhDs to teach at those schools. See the article here. You can also see a nice law review article on thinking like a lawyer here.

    I have to disagree with some of his premises though. My gut feeling says that the main problem with those PhDs is not that they can't teach lawyers about other fields that can enrich a lawyer's ways of thinking but simply because the quality of those PhDs are mediocre. On the other hand, I am quite certain that asking more experienced lawyers to teach at law schools seems like a good proposal, especially if you're talking about corporate laws. Like it or not, in Indonesia, the development of corporate laws lies mostly in the hand of corporate lawyers instead of theoretical lecturers. The problem is, most of these lawyers don't have the time to share their knowledge to law students, which is a pity.

    Why do I say that the teaching of corporate laws needs corporate lawyers? Corporate law is not only about legal issues per se. There is an economic structure behind the corporate laws and to understand such structure, lawyers need to have sufficient experience handling various corporate transactions. These experiences will enable lawyers to gain knowledge on the commercial issues of their clients which will further help them in understanding the economic structure of the corporate laws and how to improve such laws.

    Some thought provoking questions: Why there should be a limited liability concept for companies? Why directors have fiduciary duties toward the company? Why do we need commissioners for supervising the management of the company? Why we tend to limit a company to enter into affiliated party transactions? And many more.

    As you may see, the above questions pose certain economic rationales. There is no simple right or wrong answer in corporate laws as in the end, it depends on the economic structure that the regulators choose to build the foundations of corporate laws. There are virtually unlimited ways to improve our corporate laws, promote efficiency and create more preferences to the society. We need to always remember that corporations are essential institutions of the market, and therefore, it is natural if the laws that govern corporations should be designed carefully and thoughtfully.

    Stay tune as I will uncover some of these economic structures in my future posts.
  • A Short Defense on Lawyers Work

    I'm quite shocked with this piece of letter, especially because it was published in the New York Times. What's wrong with being a highly paid lawyer? Is it that bad to work as a lawyer in the United States? How come the shortage of job with high salaries is good for the development of law graduates? And, the most important question is, how on earth can someone made a claim like this: "as the jobs with large salaries disappear, law students will draw on the thoughtfulness, intelligence and perseverance that got them into law school in the first place in order to find employment that they actually find rewarding."

    Is he trying to say that having a career as a lawyer would cause law graduates to lose their thoughtfulness, intelligence and perseverance??? Pardon me sir, but among many types of career that can be pursued by a law graduate, I find that being a lawyer provides the biggest opportunity for a law graduate to maintain and increase their thoughtfulness, intelligence and perseverance. It goes without saying that a good lawyer must combine all of those three qualities in order to survive in their job.

    Any law firm who truly cares about the quality of their work and talents would be most probably establish a system which will ensure that all of their lawyers are able to maintain those three qualities. These include proper distribution of work, work review mechanism, and systematic training program. Why I believe that those three qualities will be maintained and increased by becoming a lawyer? See some examples below:
    • If you want to train a lawyer's perseverance, throw him into a very boring due diligence exercise. It's very important, but everyone knows that it's an administrative paper work. Those who can survive the hellish due diligence exercise will not doubt have a perseverance of a true knight.

    • If you want to train a lawyer's thoughtfulness, throw him into various negotiation meetings with clients and their counter parts. The first experience will always be scary, but it will definitely train his ability to think and act carefully, as he will have to respond to on-the-spot questions and he will need to understand his clients needs and translate those needs into commercially acceptable legal terms. He will also learn to act in a professional manner all the time to ensure that he can gain trust from both sides.

    • If you want to train a lawyer's intelligence, throw him into structuring a complex transaction or make him do some advisory works. That would done the job easily.
    And come on, how can someone says that having a job with less salary is good? No sir, that's not good at all. You ask people to be happy with less salary? You're saying that dreaming a career in a big paid law firm is not worthy to be pursued? My suggestion, if you want to cheer up these poor law graduates about their prospective careers, find a better reason next time.
  • Young Girl Goes to Law School: What's Wrong with That???

    This story is hilarious, particularly because people have many different views on whether a 19 years smart young girl should really go to a law school. Okay, I understand that in the United States, a law school is designed as a grad school, means that you need to at least have a college degree before you can enter into such law school. And, since I've never gone into a US law school, I don't know whether the education there is really hard or not. However, in Indonesia, you can go straight to a faculty of law of an university after being graduated from your high school. I join my faculty of law when I'm still 17 years old, and already start my career as a lawyer when I'm 21 years old. And that's very usual in Indonesia. I've seen many good young lawyers, they can do a decent job and will be even better with more experience from years to come. So what's wrong if a 19 years old girl chooses to go to a law school? I say, the younger the better. I believe that those who start at a fresh young age will have a lot more of time to adjust themselves with the law world and therefore may develop their career faster. Being a lawyer might be a tough job, but it's fun. It will definitely involve some administrative paper work, but you won't do that forever, because along with the progress of your career, you'll have a lot more of experience and get more challenging and interesting jobs. Just remember one thing, a lawyer's career may depend on various factors, but in the end the most dominant factor would always be yourself. So for Miss Kate Laughlin, congratulations on your enrollment and welcome to the ever changing world of law.

  • The Protection of Criminal Suspects in Law and Economics Perspective

    Forthcoming in Jurnal Teropong Edisi RUU KUHAP 2015 | 23 Pages | Posted: 10 May 2015 | Date Written: April 28, 2015

    Public Choice Theory and its Application in Indonesian Legislation System

    24 Pages | Posted: 8 Oct 2012 | Last revised: 8 Nov 2014 | Date Written: October 8, 2012

    Special Purpose Vehicle in Law and Economics Perspective

    Forthcoming in Journal of Indonesia Corruption Watch, 'Pemberantasan Kejahatan Korupsi dan Pencucian Uang yang Dilakukan Korporasi di Sektor Kehutanan', 2013 | 15 Pages | Posted: 22 Aug 2013 | Date Written: August 18, 2013

    Legal Positivism and Law and Economics -- A Defense

    Third Indonesian National Conference of Legal Philosophy, 27-28 August 2013 | 17 Pages | Posted: 22 Aug 2013 | Last revised: 3 Sep 2013 | Date Written: August 22, 2013

    Economic Analysis of Rape Crime: An Introduction

    Jurnal Hukum Jentera Vol 22, No 7 (2012) Januari-April | 14 Pages | Posted: 12 Nov 2011 | Last revised: 8 Oct 2012 | Date Written: May 7, 2012


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