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AvatarComments by LeeEsq*

On “There Has Got To Be A Better Way (Law School, Part 5)

The hardest part about fee for services is creating a menu of services offered and the amount charged for each service. Every client needs to be charged the same fee for the same service. In form heavy work like patent law, trademark or immigration its not so hard. When dealing with other matters its kind of trickier. How much is a trial worth?

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I'm not a big fan of flat-fees. They punish the clients that actively work with you to help them go through their case by making them pay just as much as the less active clients. In immigration, this could slow down things quite a bit. Its probably similar in other fields. As you pointed out, you don't know how complicated a case could get. Something that seems relatively simple could turn really complicated, really fast and your left doing a lot of work for nothing at a certain point.

The real virture of the fee for service system is that it helps keep hours saner for everyboy from partners to associates. When you charge per hour than the incentive is too charge as many hours as possible as you pointed out previously. Associates are miserable because of the long hours they have to put in doing tasks that are often mind-numblingly boring and are just being done to generate more revenue. This angers clietns because their bills keep mounting. The client complain to the partners, who are miserable because they have to calm the clients while still trying to bill them as much as possible.

If you charge per service than there is a certain incentive to perform as many services as possible for a client but these are going to be somewhat harder to justify than x amount of hours because a client is more prone to question why that thing needed to be done. Also, the amount of time devoted to fulfilling the service is irrelevant as long as its done. This might create incentives for saner hours, which would make many associates very happy.

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In immigration law, the usual practice is to charge per service rather than in billable hours. Each application filled out would have a fee, every hearing appeareance would have a fee, etc. There is also a retainer. Other lawyers prefer to charge a flat fee to their clients. Billable hours really don't translate that well into immigration because clients would debate you endlessly on them. You could be waiting for a few hours for a USCIS officer to go over your adjustment application but if everything lines up, the interview could be five or ten minutes long because the case is no-brainer.

On “College For Not Everybody

A lot of them became administrators in various New Deal programs or social workers.

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Some high schools in the United States offer vocational training but its not as geared to employment as their European equivalents and isn't as in depth. The assumption is still that kids would go to college.

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I agree with you but I'm not so sure that the average Ivies admission officer would unless forced to.

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Wouldn't this make the Ivies more elite by reservi g them for kids who could afford a year off and do something spectacular with it. If what you do in the gap year counts, it will hurt a lot of qualifying poor kids because they will probably choose to getting a paying job of some sort rather than the things that look good. I can see this system devolving the same problems as internships.

On ““Of course, one man’s sexual assault is another man’s sexual fantasy come true.”

This is what I'm trying to say. I know that women sexually assaulting men is much rarer than men sexually assaulting woman. It does happen occasionally. It should not be casually dismissed.

On “College For Not Everybody

Only if you could afford to experiment. With a centralized system, the money is distributed more or less equitably between the schools. Having a complex school system requires a lot of money because vocational education needs equipment. You'll read kitchens for the future chefs, tools for the electricians, carpenters, and other craftsman, etc. Decentralization might give school systems the ability to experiment but most aren't going to experiment this way.

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I think that our education system is also way too decentralized to deal with a multi-track system. The countries with multi-track systems have centralized education systems where the types of schools and the curricula of each school is basically controlled by the national government with non input from the localities. We have enough divergence of educational curriculum and quality within school districts let alone nationally. A multi-track system requires imposing a degree of uniformity on the entire education system that Americans will simply find unacceptable.

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Kazzy, what I think Will meant was that in a lot of other countries this sort of vocational education starts around high school age. Many other countries, as BlaiseP pointed out, separate the university-bound and non-university bound sometime after elementary school. The people who aren't university-bound are sent to various vocational programs and apprenticeships. Our vocational training takes place latter and is treated as a variety rather than alternative to college.

In America, you need to be a high school grad to go to the various culinary institutes to become a chef or a baker. In Europe, you'd start your culinary education at high school age and probably have an apprenticeship at some restaurant early on. American egalitarianism forces the vocational training to happen much latter than it does elsewhere.

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Kazzy, what I think Will meant was that American egalitarianism makes our educational do vocational at older ages and at a higher level than other educational systems. As I pointed out bellow, a lot of other countries have multi-tracked systems that try to separate the college bound and non-college bound sometime after Elementary school. Germany, the Netherlands, France, Austria, and host of European countries do this. Vocational training and apprenticeships are more common in those countries.

Lets use being a chef as an example. In America, our culinary institutes are essentially colleges. You need to graduate high school in order to attend one of them. In other countries, culinary institutes would be vocational schools filled with teenagers of high school ages rather than people eighteen and over. After awhile, they would have an apprenticeship at a restaurant or in a bakery.

What I think Will is proposing is a system where vocational training starts earlier like around high school age rather than latter. Something more like Europe.

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I agree with you Will. A lot of other countries have relatively complex multi-track education systems that try to sort the college bound from the non-college bound. Vocational training and apprenticeships still play an important part in those systems. America never really had a system like this. Certain school districts and schools were more successful at getting kids into college than others but the goal was always theoretically sending kids to college. I think part of this is our egalitarianism. The other part is that America is that American educational system is too decentralized to handle a more multi-tracked system. To really run a multi-track system, there needs to be conformity among school types and the curriculum in the schools.

On “Living The Dream (Law School, Part 4)

The substance abuse is mainly because I think that a lot of lawyers are unhappy with their jobs even if they make the big bucks. You have the un-Godly hours. In real person law, you have clients who could be extraordinarily emotionally draining. Once after a hearing that did not go well, I literally held my clients hand back to the office because I was afraid he was going to hurt himself. In real person law, you are going to do something that resembles psychology and social work at times. You are going to offer comfort and advocacy and talk clients out of making some very bad decisions. Corporations could also drain a lawyer emotionally but they tend not to need the same level of psychological comfort from their attorneys.

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Lawyers have very high rates of substance abuse. Dentists have us beat in terms of suicides though.

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It seems to me that the most desired law jobs for law school students were biglaw, being a prosecutor, or a non-profit type job. Very few people in my law school really wanted to go into small law or as I call it "real person" law. I was one of the few people in law school that wanted to practice real person law. I really liked torts and wanted to go to court and do hearings rather than sit around and do transactional work. I love working but I also wanted a bit of an actual life.

I think most people go for biglaw, being a prosecutor, or non-profit type job because those are seen as conferring more status than real person law. Big law is also seen as more profitiable. It usually is but real person law can be financially advantageous to if you do it right. Plus you don't have to worry about billable hours in many cases. No immigration lawyer that I know of charges clients in terms of billable hours. Plus having to work all the time saves you from having to have a life.

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I practice immigraiton law for a living. I started working at my job in August 2007. My boss sent me to court on the third week of August. It would have been earlier but there was a judge's conference after I was hired so there were no hearings for a week.

On “Not Your Typical Admissions Letter

A lot of people adopt fatalism as a copy mechanism for the hardships of life. Its a lot easier to accept what you have if you don't believe you could do better.

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And the thing about the Ivies and other elite schools is that they actually aren't stingy with needs-based scholarships for students that get in but can't afford the price tag. The same goes for other elite schools. They have their faults but meeting the needs of poorer or poor students isn't one of them.

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I can't say I agree with this. I don't think that parents should raise their kids with unrealistic expectations but at the same time they shouldn't actively discouage relatively realstic aspirations as well. Telling your kid not to expect anything good in life, that life is a giant disappointment is just as bad as making your kid believe that nothing is impossible if you work hard enough.

On ““Of course, one man’s sexual assault is another man’s sexual fantasy come true.”

There are several cultural assumptions that go into the logic that men can not be the victim of sexual assault from women. The first is that men are really eager for sex and would never look down any sexual advance from a woman or women. The other is that men simply have more physical power and social status than women so can never really be physically let alone sexually assaulted by them.

We see this dynamic in play in a lot in media that depicts teacher-student relationships. When its a male teacher and female student, not only is the teacher more or not the instigator but the female student is nearly always viewed as a victim in some way. When its a female teacher, male student the male student is rarely if ever portrayed as a victim. Often its the male student that seduces the teacher in the first place.

On “Not Your Typical Admissions Letter

It might have come across in her essay. That being said, a lot of the ivies have a lot of whiny entitled students going to them.

On “G-d and Man and Sex (!) on Campus: Moral Relativism Goes to College, An Historical Perspective, Part I

This experience matches my experience at a mid-sized private university, total of 10,000 combined undergrad and grad students. Some had wild sex lives, others were in relationships of various stability, and others no relationships at all. There wasn't any particular pressure to get involved in a wild sex life. My campus was a dry one, it was technically a Methodist school, and fraternities were not allowed on campus so that might have contributed to the relatively calm social life.

If you go to a big university, the sheer number of students is going to give a lot of anonmity and release from pressure. The smaller schools are the ones with more pressure to conform, especially at the ideological Evangelical colleges and universities. A liberal college never kicked somebody out for not having a sex life. At least to my knowledge.

On “Not Your Typical Admissions Letter

The explosion of globalization in recent years might have contributed to the arms race. The Internet was still very much in infancy when I went to college. It was still very primitive and what you could do with it was limited. The world was still unconnected in many ways. Now everything is much more tight and its the global race to the bottom.

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Despite 9/11, our government is at best only slightly more centralized in 2013 than it was when I applied for college in 1997. Looming economic security, I give you that. I wonder if college applications felt like this during the Great Depression.

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