Of course this is pretty much a rhetorical question if you are happy in your career and do not still owe six figures on your legal education.
I only ask the question because yesterday I obtained a copy of the Contestant Qualifying Test used as part of the screening process to compete on Fox's Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?
If you're interested, you can download a copy of the screening test here: Download 5th Grader Test.
It's only 11 questions long, but if you enjoy taking this test you really might want to consider taking the LSAT. From what I remember, at least, the questions are about the same level of difficulty except that the LSAT is a whole lot longer and it's timed. So it's more of an endurance/stress test than an intelligence one. The LSAT prep courses won't tell you this, of course, but I truly believe that once you've got the basic technique down and done a little home study, pre-test hypnotism will probably result in much higher test scores than any prep course; it's your state of mind on test day that matters more than anything else.
But what about the 5th grader test? Are they really using this test to screen for intelligence, or to screen out potential contestants who might cost the show too much money? I wasn't sure how to play this, so made sure to get a couple of the questions wrong. (Well, that's my story anyway, and I'm sticking to it.)
All of this testing talk also reminds me of a another testing hurdle all lawyers must leap: the "ethics" test, or MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination). Frankly, I really struggled with this test. Not because I lack ethics, mind you, but because I disagree with some of the basic tenets of lawyerly ethics and there is no room for moral debate on the 60-question multiple choice test.
For example, here is a practice question from an MPRE website:
Client carried automobile liability insurance with Insco, an insurance company. Client, while driving his car, was involved in a collision with Driver. Driver filed suit against Client. Pursuant to the contractual provision that it would furnish a lawyer to defend its insured, Insco employed Attorney to handle Client’s case. Attorney found evidence that Client had intentionally run into Driver. Intentional torts are excluded from coverage under Client’s policy with Insco. If Client intentionally ran into Driver, Insco has a “no coverage” defense to all claims against Insco by Driver and by Client. Attorney must:
A. inform Insco of the evidence that raises the possibility of “no coverage”
B. withdraw as lawyer for Client and represent Insco in an action against Client for a declaration of “no coverage.”
C. not inform either Insco or the court of the possible “no coverage” defense without Client’s consent
D. inform the court, but not Insco, of the possible “no coverage” defense.
The "correct" answer is C. [According the website where I found this, A is prohibited by Model Rule 1.8(f)(3); B is prohibited by 1.9(a) and (c); D is prohibited by 1.6 and there are no facts stated that would trigger the MR 3.3 exceptions.]
But how do you feel in this example if you happen to be Insco? (Remember who is paying for this attorney's fees?) I'm not generally a big fan of insurance companies, but is it ethical to just shut up and let Insco pay the claim simply because you are not violating any professional rule? Is this even the type of question that can be adequately answered on a multichoice exam?
I do understand that all self regulating professions need a set of rules by which to conduct themselves. I guess my problem is when people do not recognize that these rules of conduct are simply that -- somewhat arbitrary guidelines that the professional body at one time agreed would be in the best interests of the profession as a whole.
They are not necessarily ethical rules when applied to the individual or the facts of a particular case.
Which is one reason why it's so incredibly easy to write lawyer jokes, so I'll leave you with this one:
After drafting a will for an elderly client, the attorney announced a fee of $100.
The client gave the attorney a $100 bill.
After the client left, the attorney saw that the client had in fact paid $200, as two of the client's $100 bills had stuck together.
Looking at the $100 overpayment, an ethical question arose in the attorney's mind: "Do I tell my partner?"
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Do you have any good lawyer jokes? If you have any blonde lawyer jokes, that would be even better! And how did you do on the 5th grader test?