It's really no mystery why law-school enrollment is falling ("U.S. Law School Enrollments Fall," Marketplace, Dec. 18). As a recently retired trial lawyer of 43 years, I can give you some insight.
In order to become a lawyer, a student attends undergraduate school for four years and then law school for three more years. Professors bury students in work to prepare lawyers for the stress that their profession will generate and to weed out the faint of heart. After that graduates are required to take a bar exam. If you don't eventually pass that exam, you can't be licensed to practice law regardless of your law degree and the three years (and tuition) you've spent.
I was a trial lawyer and most of the trial lawyers who I knew spent about 3,000 hours a year trying to find ways to get good results for their clients. The long hours created stress for lawyers and their families. In return, lawyers used to be revered and respected members of the community.
Now, however, the demands on lawyers remain the same, but the community views us as a burden to be tolerated but not respected. We are generally viewed as caricatures, and lawyer jokes are abundant. We're supposed to laugh, but being told that your life's work is a joke really isn't very funny.
Laurence F. Valle