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January 08, 2010

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John

This is a terrible idea. The last thing law schools need is to be thrust deeper into the hands of academics and move further away from practical legal education.

Law schools already suffer from far too much emphasis on legal theory and not enough on practice. Examine all of the 'how to become a law professor' resources and each one indicates the difficulties of becoming a professor after too many years of practice.

As much as I love my professors, as much as loved the academic and legal theory side of law school, and as much as I hope to be one of those academics with only a few years of practice, I also recognize the disservice to students who, increasingly, can't get a job in a big law firm, mid-size law firm, or even a small law firm who can take the time to mentor them.

From my 2008 graduating class, I'd estimate 1/4th have ended up opening their own firms either as a solo or with other new lawyers. Legal theory is important -- my ability to think beyond the box is, in part, thanks to an emphasis on legal theory -- but theory is worthless if you don't learn the basic procedures needed to be able to present your theory.

Perhaps a 3rd association should be created in lieu of the ABA, but using the AALS would be just as bad, or worse, than the ABA.

Finally, the argument that fewer law schools should be created is silly at best. Yes, there may be a glut of lawyers on the market, but the market will sort it out. In the end, those who are the better lawyers, the more dedicated to the profession, will remain.

Arbitrary limits on access to law school education is a poor way of handling the current economic plight of recent law grades.

Oh, and by the way, most lawyers out there don't end up working in big law firms. It seems obvious to say, but step back and examine how much of the argument on this sort of thing comes from the big law firm/big law firm associate paradigm and perception.

People in this argument need to reframe their perception to better take in the majority of those who would be affected by any policy changes such as those for which Greenbaum argues.

Guest

If there is indeed an oversupply of lawyers there is a market that should operate to send a very clear signal of the need for correction: student loans. If law students can't get jobs to repay the loans then the default rate goes up and so should the cost of the loans. Rational applicants will then think twice about the cost of law school.

Of course, I live in an environment that is terribly underlawyered (Silicon Valley) but no one wants to pay the cost of getting good legal advice!

ken

I am concerned that the law schools likely to be eliminated are those that have high percentages of minority students. In light of the NY Times story yesterday regarding the decline in African American and Mexican American enrollment in law schools during the past 15 years, eliminating these schools would have a detrimental effect. We need fewer law schools that are concerned about their US News ranking and more law schools that are concerned with increasing the number of minority attorneys and attorneys for underserved populations.

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