Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano - the former governor of Arizona - is resigning to become the President of the University of California. She holds a JD from the University of Virginia and clerked for Judge Mary Schroeder on the Ninth Circuit.
There has been a lot of discussion recently, both in the Lounge and other less important places ☺, about the costs of legal education. Obviously, both market forces and the pursuit of a higher U.S. News ranking contribute significantly to raising the cost of providing a legal education. Likewise, qualifying for either ABA or AALS accreditation have significant costs whether in the form of needing significantly investments in faculty size and type, in the operation of multiple clinics, in expecting more from each faculty member than just teaching, or in the other expenses directly associated with delivering a legal education of the type mandated by the ABA and AALS. To date, however, a smaller, but still significant cost imposed on law schools has not been considered — the cost of complying with the ABA’s demands for data about each law school’s program. In other words, the cost of establishing to the satisfaction of the ABA that the school satisfies the ABA’s Standards is expensive.
This is a picture of the statistical data we have provided to the ABA for our initial application and our limited site visit:
In case you cannot see the ruler clearly, this is 9½ inches of data. To a certain extent, if you measure the quantity of data in the inches of paper necessary to report it, you know that it is massive.
Effectively, to generate this data, one full-time, mid-level administrative employee-equivalent has been needed in each of the last two years (and will be needed for the foreseeable future). In fact, this probably underestimates the amount of time needed to generate the data as the rest of us, from the Dean on down, have had to spend weeks worth of time on the project. You have to look up from the Dean’s Office, too, to capture the efforts of the various university-level administrators who were involved. If you put all of this time together, this has been the functional equivalent of dropping our enrollment by three or four students each year. Please understand that this is not a cost to run an accredited institution, it is merely the cost of trying to establish that you are running one.
To focus on just one statistic, consider the way the ABA measures the bar passage rate of each law school. The goal is to determine exactly how many students both took and past the bar. Consequently, each school has to spend a lot of time and effort to track down how each student did. Of course, this is not a local matter as students take bar examinations throughout the country. Some jurisdictions make obtaining this data an easy process, but many do not. The school must follow up with the other jurisdictions or, worse, with the individual students. Of course a failure to track sufficient students has draconian effects as it becomes impossible to establish compliance with the standards.
It does not have to be this way. For those of us who do empirical research about the law, we commonly build statistical models for what we are studying. My current research effort, for example, involves patent quality. For the vast majority of patents, there is no direct measurement of quality. Consequently, I will be looking at a variety of other factors that I hope to establish can successfully predicts quality. Bar passage can be handled the same way.
While it might be nice to have a precise measurement of every student’s performance on the bar examination, we may be able to do as well by just measuring the domestic bar exam. You would think that if a school’s students do well on its home-state’s bar, they would do well elsewhere, too. If, for example, law schools that have an acceptable overall bar passage rate (however the ABA wishes to define this) consistently show a passage rate of X or more on the domestic bar, why not dramatically lower the cost of accreditation compliance by only requiring X to be reported?
To be fair, I do not know that there is such a relationship, but this is, at a minimum, an easily testable hypothesis. If confirmed, it could dramatically lower the cost of establishing compliance as could other similar statistical measurements.
As I have previously observed, if you think there is no oversupply of recent and imminent law graduates, you live in a fantasy world. If you think that every underemployed law graduate in America is just too lazy, too stupid or too greedy to take one of the countless paying jobs just waiting out there to meet the legal needs of the poor (who have no money to pay you, despite their substantial and serious needs), you live in a fantasy world. If you think that there are untold thousands of wonderful, remunerative jobs that don’t require a law degree but that instantly become available to law graduates just because they have one, you live in a fantasy world. We have lots of data measuring the differences between what’s going on here on Earth, and what you think you see from Planet Pangloss.
But there is an equally corrosive rhetoric at the other extreme in this discussion, and it is just as pernicious and misleading. For example, this recent quote from Paul Campos in Fortune: “[I]t's like the subprime mortgage scandal without securitization. When people realize it's a worthless degree, the system is going to collapse.” Lest anyone accuse me of being a hater, let me be clear that I think Prof. Campos has done us all a great service in raising and focusing public discourse on a number of extremely serious and important issues regarding the current state of legal education, and has regularly contributed to the discussion with reasoned and empirically-based arguments about where we are and where we might be headed. My concern is his tendency to lapse into self-loathing (such as in this inaugural post on his blog and much of the rest of what he posted there that month) and hyperbole (such as the remark I just quoted), and the rage and panic it excites in many of his followers.
In a recent post, I called those indulging these rhetorical extremes “Pandemoniasts.” I was thinking of Milton’s Paradise Lost, and the prospect of Hell presented to the fallen angels from the site of the city they will build there, Pandaemonium, which sounds for all the world like this crew’s prospect of all life after law school:
The dismal Situation waste and wild, A Dungeon horrible, on all sides round As one great Furnace flamed, yet from those flames No light, but rather darkness visible Served only to discover sights of woe, Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace And rest can never dwell, hope never comes That comes to all; but torture without end . . . .
(Book I, lines 60-67, spelling modernized)
Before those on the waiting list for anger management start to pile on, let’s all be clear that there is in fact loads of misery in the post-law-school world. There are literally tens of thousands of recent law-school graduates who made six-figure investments in their legal educations, many of them incurring huge nondischargeable loans to do so, who cannot find full-time, long-term employment making any substantial use of what they paid so dearly in time and treasure to acquire. This distress is by no means evenly distributed across the graduates of all law schools, but it is having real and significant effects at almost all of them, including many very well and thoughtfully administered institutions such as the one where I am fortunate to work. This is nothing short of tragic, and of course it has to be addressed to reduce the numbers of future victims of this misfortune. (And we should never forget that prospective reform of the kind currently under discussion in many quarters does little for those already caught in the riptide of the shrinking law-job market. Disaster relief for those already swept out to sea will be the subject of a future post, and is something we should all be thinking about as well.)
That’s why I’ve argued that What Matters Most right now is that there are not enough law jobs for the recent and imminent law grads entering the workforce: Responding to precisely these circumstances, the relevant markets are already bringing powerful forces to bear. What happens when you make more of something (here, entry-level lawyers) than the market wants? Supply contracts and price falls until the market clears. And that’s exactly what’s going on right now. Law-school applications are down precipitously again this year (hat-tip to Dan Filler for the latest numbers) as more prospective law students conclude that the investment of time and money in a JD is not justified. The first-year class that started this past fall is smaller than the previous year’s by at least 10% at roughly half the accredited law schools in the United States. Many schools will shrink, and some will simply fail when they cannot attract enough of what they consider the right kind of applicants. Similarly, price competition among law schools for desirable matriculants is already increasing, right now mostly in the form of price-discounting through offers of financial aid, but with a few institutions freezing and reportedly considering reducing their tuitions.
Judging from the oversupply revealed by the employment numbers gathered and disseminated by the ABA Section on Legal Education, my relatively unscientific guess is that we can expect the number of seats in accredited law schools to shrink somewhere between 20% and 40% from its high in the class entering in the fall of 2010. My equally unscientific guess is that we can expect to see the reduction fairly quickly (on an academic timescale)—perhaps within the next 3-5 years.
This correction, which is obviously substantial, will create more dislocation and hardship. That is deeply regrettable. Students at institutions forced to close will have their studies disrupted, and perhaps terminated (with concomitant loss of their investment) if they cannot find an institution willing to accept them as transfers. The faculty and staff of those failed institutions will lose their jobs, and finding similar jobs elsewhere will be very difficult as many of the schools remaining downsize their own faculty and staff to serve reduced student bodies. (The difficulties I am hearing about from very accomplished and talented applicants for law-teaching jobs this year are just a small harbinger of things to come.) Schools that choose to compete by reducing price, either by selective awards of financial aid that allow them to price-discriminate more effectively, or by reducing nominal tuition rates across the board, will undoubtedly require their faculties to teach more and get paid less.
These hardships will not fall equally on every law school. The really interesting questions are which schools are going to be most quickly and profoundly affected and why. I have some thoughts about that, which I’ll share in a post soon to come. Readers’ predictions in the Comments are solicited. In the meantime, some schools are embracing the inevitable proactively (props to Dean Frank Wu at Hastings, for example, who decided last spring to reduce his census by 20% even though he could still fill 100% of his existing seats, thus seizing the opportunity to manage into and through the change), while others will undoubtedly be dragged down in price or numbers kicking and screaming (and denying and denying some more).
Those in the Schadenfreude brigade who take some joy in these prospects should be ashamed. When markets contract, many people suffer. But is this the end of the world as we know it? Is “the system” going to “collapse”? Don’t be ridiculous.
The legal profession is still an indispensable handmaiden to the American economy. Even with a deeply depressed economy and critical structural changes reducing the staffing and pricing of legal services, there are still countless disputes of all kinds to be resolved, still deals to be done, and more regulations than ever to comply with. There is an interesting debate to be had about whether, in the medium or longer term, the traditional model of conventionally defined legal services provided by guild-licensed professionals will survive (Gillian Hadfield and Richard Susskind, among others, think—with apologies to Prof. Hadfield for oversimplifying her complex and nuanced views—perhaps not). But right now, and for the foreseeable future, there is no responsible argument that every law degree is “worthless” or that “the system” is on the verge of “collapse.” Over 23,000 of the law students who graduated in 2011 had long-term, full-time jobs requiring a law license within nine months, and some modest (and I stress “modest”) complement on top of that found work towards which their law degrees made a real and significant difference. That’s a lot fewer than the 43,000+ who graduated that year, and some of those who succeeded in the job market are making only a marginal living. Those are very significant problems that have resulted in real and serious loss, disruption and pain to many thousands of disappointed graduates. But to suggest that soon no one will be attending law school because there are, or will be, no economically viable entry-level law jobs is absurd.
Bottom line: The legal academy is already shrinking, and that’s going to accelerate for a while—but it will slow and then stop. We have the choice to face the forces driving these changes thoughtfully and proactively, or to be dragged along willy-nilly. What we can’t do is resist them, and those who try will do so at their peril. When it’s done, we will likely be sadder, hopefully wiser, and certainly more modest in our dominion. “Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven”? You tell me.
With thanks to the commenters and correspondents who responded to my original post on this subject with an absolutely fascinating range of views, I’m going to take another run at explaining why I’m still disappointed with the recent article by Law School Transparency co-founders and research director Kyle McEntee, Patrick Lynch and Derek Tokaz (to whom I will refer in this post interchangeably with LST, though I’m not sure whether they would agree with that). The paper, forthcoming in the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, is rather dramatically entitled “The Crisis in Legal Education: Dabbling in Disaster Planning.” Familiarity with my original post is not presupposed.
As I mentioned in my original post, I’ve always admired Law School Transparency—even, I’d like to think, before it was fashionable. There is a good deal to admire. LST and its principals recognized early in the collapse of the law-job market that law schools were doing a discreditably poor job of making available the information necessary for a rational person to determine whether or where to get a law degree. They believed that potential consumers of legal education would make better choices if they were better informed. They were pointed, patient and persistent in pressing for more and better disclosure. They were an instrumental part of the process that effected that change. And they’ve offered a number of thoughtful perspectives on the information they helped bring to light (I don’t particularly agree with a number of them, but I certainly respect the effort and empirically supported analysis that went into them).
So what’s my problem with “Dabbling in Disaster Planning” (beyond everything the title ought to tell you without asking further)? Here’s a catalogue of my most serious concerns:
Don’t overdramatize. Don’t let your urge to be the center of attention distract from the ideas and their merits. To those of you who pointed out that this was a vice of my original post (most of you in the most understated and appropriate way): you were right, and thank you. This vice appears in “Disaster Planning” in the overused and overwrought rhetoric of crisis that pervades a certain class of commentary about the current state of the legal academy and the legal profession. LST’s title tells us its paper is all about “Disaster Planning” to address the “Crisis in Legal Education.” And indeed the word “disaster” appears three times in the first paragraph of the Abstract alone, with two “cris[e]s” thrown in for good measure. By the third page, “the law school disaster” has been erected as the foil against which the paper’s recommendations are defined.
Don’t allow hysterical language to mask a failure to define the issue you need to address. So what is “the law school disaster” according to LST? I scoured over forty pages without finding an answer. While “Disaster Planning” trots out various inventories of misfortune, it fundamentally fails to identify the “disaster” it’s “planning” for, leaving us facing down that “disaster” armed only with the queasy uncertainty that we won’t know when we’re ready for it, how effectively we weathered it, or when it might be over.
Am I suggesting that there is nothing amiss in the legal academy or the legal job market? Of course not. Law schools; their faculty, staff and administrators; law students; law graduates; lawyers and legal employers—and by far most importantly, clients—are all currently awash in real, serious and substantial difficulties of various kinds. But which are causes, and which are effects, and which are which for what? Or to put it slightly differently, it’s pretty much impossible to solve a problem you haven’t defined; in fact, it’s difficult to speak coherently about a problem you haven’t defined. You end up with exasperated generalizations on the order of “life sucks; then you die” (which, I might observe, leaves you with innumerable inconsistent avenues to explore concerning whether or how to make life suck less, or end quicker).
Some measure of how serious an obstacle this tactic is to sound analysis can be found in the responses I received to this point in my original post. Several of you (including Kyle McEntee himself in a very thoughtful and measured Comment for which I thank him) chastised me for quibbling with LST when it was perfectly obvious what the “disaster” was—and each of you identified different issues! Mr. McEntee believes that “the disaster would be if legal education's traditional and important role in American society is further delegitimized”; others of you identified the problem as the excessive cost of legal education (a subject I will discuss in an upcoming post); still others pointed to the genuinely tragic flotilla of unemployed law grads currently marooned in a sea of debt.
That’s why I have devoted (some might suggest squandered) so many words in this space considering “What Matters Most.” For those no longer keeping score at home, what I think Matters Most—that is, what is most fundamentally a direct or indirect cause of more current hardships, and what would be most difficult, and least likely, to change—is the fact that there are significantly more recent and imminent law graduates than there are entry-level law jobs. You are invited to review my empirical and logical bases for the conclusion that this is What Matters Most right now (e.g., here and here), and fault my reasons in any way your reason will permit. But for heaven’s sake, let’s have a coherent and common-sense discussion about causes and effects grounded in actual facts and practical realities, and leave Henny Penny in the barnyard.
Whether you agree with my assessment of What Matters Most or not, defining the problem you want to solve is utterly essential. Beyond insignificant and temporary adjustments on the margin, law schools don’t create law jobs, and they don’t destroy them. Legal employers and clients do that, driven by their own economic exigencies. Law schools have been making the same mistakes that LST and others identify today in one form or another for close to 40 years, during which time legal employment saw essentially uninterrupted and unprecedentedly rapid growth at rates far in excess of the greater economy’s. There is no empirical evidence, and no coherent argument, that whatever you think law schools are doing wrong today made one-third or more of all entry-level law jobs suddenly disappear between 2008 and 2010. There is no empirical evidence, and no coherent argument, that any change to the substance or method of legal education today would bring any material portion of those recently disappeared jobs back into the economy.
What this means is that, if you’re trying to relieve the oversupply of recent law graduates (or the undersupply of entry-level law jobs), tinkering with law-school curricula or instruction methods will not meaningfully touch the problem. Nor will simply lowering the cost of a law degree, which as I’ve already suggested in this space, seems more likely to increase the number of unemployable graduates as reduced price stimulates demand. This is not to say that I endorse the current economics of law school, but that’s no excuse not to think through the plausible consequences of your policy prescriptions.
So while I do not question the seriousness and good faith with which LST advances its proposals, I hope none of you will question the seriousness and good faith with which I suggest that some of the ideas in “Disaster Planning” deserve some further thought and refinement. To put my examples in context, two of the big ideas around which LST wants to build an experimental “modular” law school are (i) shorter-term class “modules” lasting only a few weeks apiece in lieu of most full-term courses (a Colorado College model for those familiar with it) (ii) taught predominantly by adjuncts at a cost far lower than permanent faculty. In the remainder of this post, I’ll try to illustrate some recurring errors in LST's article that we can all try to avoid in our next efforts.
Don’t ignore the implications of your justifications. A number of the explanations offered for LST’s specific proposals don’t respond to broadly held perceptions of what’s broke; don’t hang together, or just don’t make much sense. For example, the authors praise the compressed class “module” structure because it “encourage[s] exploration of topics that would otherwise be considered too narrow in a semester-long curriculum structure.” But overbreadth of particular class offerings is not a common view of the current deficiency in curricular selection; if anything, excessive and impractical narrowness is. This does not necessarily mean that shorter “modules” are a bad idea; but it does mean that how they are selected, structured and coordinated is quite important. Future discussion should bring this essential factor, which is not addressed in the current paper, into play. Similarly, LST touts its proposed structure because it allows faculty to respond nimbly and rapidly to the curricular “input” and “demands” of students. This is not altogether surprising given that the authors are all recent law-school graduates. But the premise is not unlike criticizing a physician for bad patient service because she did not provide the diagnosis or prescribe the therapy the patient thinks he prefers. Most students come to law school having no idea what they need to learn to prepare themselves for one of the innumerably varied careers they have not yet chosen. The fact that some of the doctors may be loopy or self-involved is no reason to put the patients in charge of the asylum.
Don’t ignore inconvenient facts. One of the greatest challenges in formulating coherent law-school reform proposals is (as a number of you pointed out in response to my original post) how little we actually know about what works or why. Experimentation should be undertaken advisedly, since the guinea pigs are people who are gambling huge amounts of money and their future on the experiments’ outcome. So when we actually have empirical data, we are duty-bound to make the most of it. In this particular instance, LST—ordinarily an outspoken champion of better information driving better decisions—refuses. Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, the authors note, has pointed out that one of the serious objections to a very small core of full-time faculty surrounded by a cloud of adjuncts who wander in for their three-week modules and then disappear until next year (or forever) is that adjuncts regularly receive materially less positive student evaluations of their teaching in the aggregate than permanent faculty. One likely reason, Dean Chemerinsky has argued, is that whatever else teaching involves, it is a skill that benefits from practice. LST’s response is a series of unsupported assertions that the student evaluations are somehow comprehensively wrong, and that most practitioner adjuncts are really better teachers, both in their practices and at school, than most permanent law faculty (something not entirely obvious to anyone who has ever worked in a law firm, which none of the authors has for any length of time). While greater use of adjuncts may present other advantages—which, while not in my view as self-evident as the authors apparently believe, seem to deserve exploration and testing—it is at the very least self-defeating to deny years of actual empirical observation and evaluation by the very student population the authors wish to serve. Let’s use the facts we have, not pretend they don’t exist.
Don’t assume away the problems you perceive; recognize and try to solve them. No proposal is perfect. Good policy involves identifying the weaknesses in your suggestions and figuring out ways to avoid or ameliorate them. Bad policy leaves the problems you know are out there for someone else to take responsibility for (so at least the program’s failure won’t be your fault). For example, the authors concede that “[t]he sheer number of adjuncts may accentuate the problem of finding, scheduling, evaluating, and filtering competent teachers.” Their solution: “The . . . faculty must be actively managed in a way that ABA-approved law schools are not presently doing.” Any suggestions about the quantitative or qualitative nature of the “problems” their novel structure creates, or what any of those currently nonexistent techniques of “active manage[ment]” might involve? Nah, these mere operational details are delegated to a “module coordination staff, focused on the challenges distinctive to the modular structure,” who will somehow do what such currently nonexistent people have never done before “ensuring a sound and affordable legal education.” Any solution involving the adjunct cloud that LST favors cannot be taken seriously without some very detailed prescriptions for how to manage this very significant challenge.
LST deserves everyone’s gratitude for an earnest and courageous effort to advance the discussion on a miserably complicated and difficult set of problems. The execution leaves something to be desired for the reasons just discussed. But at a minimum, it highlights a number of the challenges that are going to have to be addressed before meaningful and effective reform will be possible. We can only hope that, as each of us comes forward with our own ideas, the mistakes we make are new.
Next time, my promised response to the crisis-mongers.
One of the consequences of working at a new school that had been seeking first-time ABA approval for almost twenty years is that you become more familiar with the details of the ABA accreditation standards than you might personally prefer. I have materially participated in drafting four ABA self-studies — two unsuccessful efforts submitted by Southern New England; a third attempt started by SNESL, but aborted as the merger into U.Mass. occurred; and the most recent successful effort as the U.Mass. Law School. Most times, even if you disagree with a requirement, you can nevertheless understand why the ABA requires it. Sometimes, however, this is not true. Consider Standard 502 entitled “Educational Requirements”:
(a) A law school shall require for admission to its J.D. degree program a bachelor’s degree ... from an institution that is accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the Department of Education.
(b) In an extraordinary case, a law school may admit to its J.D. degree program an applicant who does not possess the educational requirements of subsection (a) if the applicant’s experience, ability, and other characteristics clearly show an aptitude for the study of law. ...
The basic purpose of the rule is understandable. The U.S. law degree is a graduate program, so it makes sense to require typical applicants to law school to establish that they have completed an undergraduate education. The accrediting agency referenced in the rule are the regional agencies (NEASC for us). Gaining regional accreditation, though not pro forma, is not extraordinarily difficult either as long as the institution is not just a diploma mill (I’ve had the “privilege” of drafting multiple NEASC self-studies, also).
The problem with the rule is its U.S.-centric basis. There are many undergraduate institutions world-wide that provide excellent undergraduate educations. Does the ABA mean to make admission to a U.S. law school more difficult for a graduate of the University of Cambridge or Oxford just because they are located in the U.K. or of McGill University just because it is located in Canada? None of these institutions are accredited as far as the U.S. Department of Education is concerned. Under 502, exceptions can only be granted in “extraordinary case[s].” Personally, I suspect that a vast majority of foreign-educated applicants across the country are justifiably deemed qualified and are admitted despite their foreign degree. All of our foreign-educated applicants aren’t only above average, they are extraordinary.
While the rule practically mandates that all candidates have a U.S. undergraduate degree, the admissions requirements in Chapter 5 of the ABA Standards are silent on a candidate’s language abilities. For any law school, it is a major problem when a student is not fluent in the language of instruction. Why is it, then, that the ABA has no requirements that a student demonstrate an ability in the language of instruction?
I want to thank the hosts for allowing me to guest post on the Lounge. I look forward to sharing some views from the outer edges of legal academia: a newly accredited law school that has been operating in one form or another for almost a third of a century. There are three interesting data points in the process of establishing this school: operation as a private state-accredited institution; as a public state-accredited institution; and now as a provisionally accredited school. All seem to be like attending high school.
Phase 1 (a private non-affiliated non-ABA school): You are a new student in the school. You so much want to be liked but you have no confidence that you will be. You try to get an invitation to the big dance, but the popular students (other law schools) don’t want you there. You keep doing everything you can to look like a successful high school student but, at the end of the day, you can’t afford the proper clothing to go to the dance because the cost is defined to be just more than you can afford.
Phase 2 (a public university’s non-ABA school): Although still an outsider to the “cool kids,” your single parent got married to a rich and very powerful spouse. Now, although the popular students still insult or ignore you, enough others like you that you get to go to the dance. You aren’t significantly different than you were when you started school, but because of the marriage, you now are seen as having potential.
Phase 3 (provisional accreditation): To be determined. Having only been provisionally accredited for two weeks, it is hard to tell if we are like students who are finishing high school and thinking about college choice and adult futures, or students who have finally passed the important test and will now be allowed to continue in the next year of education.
A popular refrain of late is "How many law schools do we need?!?!" A valid question to be sure. I, however, would like to pose a somewhat related one. Namely, how many law journals do we need?
Now, I am not referring to new schools starting their own general journals -- I think every law school should produce a journal if, for no other reason, than to provide their students with the opportunity to work on a journal. Instead, I'm referring to the proliferation of secondary journals.
Don't get me wrong -- I love secondary journals and I think that, in many respects, they play an essential role in the legal academy. For example, a speciality journal dedicated to an area of law that has historically been looked down upon by general law reviews (legal writing is one example that comes to mind) can provide a much needed outlet to those (both scholars and readers) in that field. But as schools add more and more to the list, I just wonder at what point are we maybe hurting the academy. After all, each new journal that pops up needs to publish something (how else could it justify its existence). Assuming the number of available articles remains constant, the more journals out there accepting submissions, the more articles get accepted. And up to a point, that's great!
However, I'm also assuming that only a certain percentage of available articles are of publishable quality (having worked as a law review editor, I feel fairly confident with this assumption, but feel free to correct me). Yet, the more articles that are needed to fill all the available journals, the more likely are those of unpublishable quality to nonetheless find a home. And it is no doubt those articles that critics of the field will seize upon when looking for a way to criticize legal scholarship.
Of course, maybe none of this should matter. Indeed, who is to say what's "of publishable quality"? Plus, these same arguments can be levied against general journals (of course, with the addition of a general journal at a new law school, we have the addition of a new law faculty producing scholarship). In addition, perhaps it doesn't matter what's published, given that we can all read and thus figure out for ourselves what is good and what is not. Finally, more journals provide more opportunities for students to work on a journal.
So I'm curious. What's your opinion? The more the merrier or is there a point of diminishing returns?