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Another Christian Law School? Oy Vey.

Vivia Chen

August 13, 2010

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If you're a faithful reader of The Careerist, you know that I've been on the warpath about the proliferation of law schools. It's a cheap shot, really, because they're such easy targets. You don't need a degree from a fancy Manhattan kindergarten to know that graduates from these sure-to-be-at-the bottom-rung law schools face crummy job prospects.

But new law schools keep gushing out--and "gushing" is the right word, considering that the latest school being proposed is in Louisiana. A tipster to Above the Law poses this poignant question: "Do the poor people of Northern Louisiana need an unaccredited, unnecessary private law school sucking up the little money left up there not being fed into the coin slot of a chintzily lighted slot machine on a beat-up old riverboat?"

It's not just any law school this time, but one with an evangelical focus. According to the Shreveport Times, the school will provide a "biblical worldview" with the goal of training future lawyers "to defend conservative Christian values in courtrooms and politics."

I have some idea of what Christian politics might mean, though I'm totally confused by what Christian values would be in a courtroom. Is it a matter of fashion--such as dressing primly like you're going to Sunday supper at the pastor's house? Or does it mean invoking the power of prayer to pulverize your opponent? Would you defend your client--say, a corporation accused of fraud or a bank robber--differently?

But I digress. What I really intend to say is that there's a big difference between your usual newbie, fourth-tier law school and the ones with a fundamentalist Christian affiliation. From a careerist point of view, I'd go with the evangelical school--especially if it's backed by a lot of influential and wealthy born-agains. Think networking!

Let's take a historical view of this issue: It wasn't that long ago that graduates from conservative Christian law schools got some pretty impressive jobs. Remember Monica Goodling, the high-ranking lawyer at the Justice Department who worked closely with attorney general Alberto Gonzalez?  She vetted prospective lawyers for the DOJ, and dinged a lot of top law school graduates who didn't pass her "values" test.  (And eventually got into trouble for doing so.) Well, she was a graduate of fourth-tier Regent University Law School, which was founded by evangelist Pat Robertson.

In fact, during George W. Bush's reign, Regent graduates were everywhere, sometimes holding positions that belie their experience and credentials. According to the Huffington Post, there were 150 of them working for the administration during the heyday.

Times have changed, of course. And graduates from Christian law schools like Regent or Jerry Falwell's Liberty University School of Law (which just got its accreditation, by the way) are probably scarce in the Obama administration. Yes, we're back to those boring Harvard and Yale law grads.

But, trust me, the political winds will shift again. So when Sarah Palin becomes the prez, I'd betcha those God-fearing law grads will be back in full force.

So my advice is this: If you must go to a bottom-feeder school, a conservative Christian law school is the way to go. You might have to forsake drinking, dancing (if you land at a strict Southern Baptist institution), and premarital sex for three years, but from a careerist standpoint, you couldn't be more nicely taken care of.

Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? Email The Careerist's chief blogger Vivia Chen at VChen@alm.com.

Comments

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This guy is clearly a moron. Keep reading and basing you're law school determinations off of U.S. News and World Reports. Not everyone wants to have liberal dribble pushed down their throats. Life is better with hope and faith in the devine. What does secular beliefs get you? They turn you into an atheist with loose morals just going through life like a leach trying to pad their pockets and resumes with money and prestige. Christians espouse faith, hope, love and fellowship. (w/ a few crazies mixed in) But the reality is most AREN'T crazy. Most are normal folks with good values. You know drinking, smoking, drugs, pre-marital sex aren't good things. You can joke around and pretend that they are positive things that don't affect the quality of our lives, but it does. We need more Christians. We need more people who have morals in tact and want to help others. It's okay. Keep on bashing us. Liberty U had a 100 percent bar passage rate. Regent University took down 2 Ivy League Schools (1 of which was Harvard) at recent moot court debates. Keep believing in you're fake slanted rankings and dream world. One day you will beg for mercy.

Just to follow-up to the final paragraph of the blog...

"So my advice is this: If you must go to a bottom-feeder school, a Christian law school is the way to go. You might have to forsake drinking, dancing (if you land at a strict Southern Baptist institution), and premarital sex for three years, but from a careerist standpoint, you couldn't be more nicely taken care of."

Mine:

So my advice is this: If you must go to an ivy league elitist school, you might as well go to the socialist/communist leaning, secular humanist, liberal institutions slowly wrecking our country. You might have to forsake liberty, choice of thought and belief in heterosexual marriage, but from a careerist standpoint, you couldn't be more nicely taken care of.

The sword pierces both ways, my friend.

Just a guess, but I am guessing more people would probably choose your thought than mine.

I fail to see the humor or even a satirical point of view. It appears that we all pass the same bar exam. If one is not held to a higher standard than simple analytical interpretation of law and facts, then what holds the law in place. It appears that someone needs to brush up on their history and the founding of our country and the basis of the law. Law in and of itself will not hold. Law is merely an instrument of man to enforce those pesky "inalienable rights."

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." --Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776. ME 1:29, Papers 1:315

Sam - are you seriously suggesting that the idea of conservative values taught at law schools specifically devoted to the subject is not funny?

Why the photo of Pope Benedict with the article? So-called 'Conservative Christian values' are rarely, if ever, equated with Roman Catholicism.

In any case, RC-affiliated academic institutions aren't bottom feeders.

I'm not sure, but I guess this satirical piece was supposed to be funny?

If this is an example of what I can expect from other posts (from the Chief Blogger, no less), I'll pass and take my chances with other legal career blogs that don't take cheap swipes at Christian law schools and lawyers.

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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