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September 05, 2013

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BoredJD

"When the media and others start the chatter about too many law schools, one of the many responses the academy might offer is the value proposition law schools, particularly through clinics and externships, bring to the community."

Having low and middle income people take on 150K in debt in order to pay clinical and adjunct profs to give other low and middle income people free legal services, while research faculty and deans take a large "finders fee" to write articles and attend dinners, is hardly the value proposition you think it is.

There's a much more direct way to provide legal services to low and middle income people. The government can take 20% of the money it loans to students at schools like Touro and use it to fund positions at legal aid bureaus.

anon

Bored JD, OTOH, doctors learn at "teaching hospitals" and, of course, their mistakes are far more consequential.
I agree with the main point of the post. At least a clinic might take steps to address the fact that the "oversupply" of attorneys is only an illusion, as the vast majority of the public goes entirely underserved (but for the "legal zoom" type "services").
If law schools would only focus more on their core mission - to train attorneys - most of the "hot" issues under debate would resolve. Clinics are no panacea, but at least these clinics might represent a small swing back from the horribly misguided direction of the past twenty or so years.
The law academy might consider steering away from recruiting Ph.D.’s who specialize in "intersections" and steering toward those who understand and appreciate the practice of law in the United States.
Leave the focus on “intersections” for policy institutes and other graduate schools, and leave aside the gobbledygook. Find faculty who have concrete insights, based on knowledge, experience and scholarly pursuits, about improving the role that attorneys play in modern society and the perceived role of law schools in America will begin to turn.
The hypothetical visitor from Mars might say: “After moving as far away as you possibly could in recruiting and focus from the practice of law (relegating a few marginal efforts to stay relevant to a few small “clinics” staffed by persons with diminished status) , how can you pretend to be surprised that fewer of the best and brightest wish to attend law school and fewer employers wish to hire your graduates: while the vast majority of Americans remain underserved by attorneys?”
The consequence of the trend in recent years to move away from the core mission of law schools and toward a false ideal of recruiting Ph.D.s in other disciplines who have little to offer those aspiring to practice law is sort of obvious.

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