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August 15, 2013

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anon

MacK:
What is the point of focusing on the anonymous nature of Anons post?
After all, weren't you outraged when someone identified you by name (and your father, etc.), despite the fact that you post as "MacK"?
Be consistent. I don't think you should fault someone else for not posting in his/her own name, unless you sign your post.
And, it is no answer to say "Everyone knows who I am."
I don't think everyone knows to whom "MacK" refers.
I like the substance of your comment, including the observation that law profs are showing themselves in so many instances to be very unskilled in argument (a disturbing but important window into some of the problems that now face the law academy and a direct consequence of hiring practices), but please, leave out the attack based on anonymous posting (especially when you are doing the same thing).
Otherwise, this thread will go off the rails like another recent one that dwelt on anonymous posting.

Alfred Brophy

A bunch of people keep referring to the BLS statistics in the comments on this blog. Rarely do they include links. Might I ask that going forward when people refer to the BLS statistics they link to them? For those of us who aren't intimately familiar with the BLS statistics, links would be helpful.

I, too, was curious about anons' statement that the BLS numbers don't include solos or law firm partners. As to the solos, was he referring to note 1 here: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes231011.htm#(1)


MacK

anon - perhaps because I have a shrewd guess as to who Anons is and what name he usually posts under.

Moreover, the difference between a practitioner and a professor is that if a practitioner made such an inaccurate statement - as say a junior associate his/her partner would be furious - as lead counsel, in serious trouble. No so much for a prawf

MacK

Alfred, that note is only for this data set. The 760,000 count includes solos and self employed (equity-partners) - this is the earnings data which arguably skews high because it is only employed lawyers - a lot of solos has very low earnings.

Bernie Burk

I don't intend to wade into the interesting debate in these Comments regularly, but I did want to highlight and briefly address one thing Matt (1:54 p.m. today) asserted: I don't think it would be accurate to say that my paper "refutes" Michael Simkovic's and Frank McIntyre's work on "The Economic Value of a Law Degree." I may post on this in more detail later, but for the most part the two articles are focused on different things. Simkovic and McIntyre are looking at the earnings differential between JDs and BAs over a period of time as a means of making predictions about the value of a JD degree going forward; my paper focuses on the entry level job market for new lawyers, without regard to how BAs without a JD are doing relative to JDs at the same time JDs are scrambling for jobs generally and law-related jobs in particular.

Simkovic and McIntyre do attempt to conclude that the current state of the entry-level job market for lawyers is experiencing a merely cyclical downturn now, but that really is an overreach from their data and analysis, and in all events doesn't address any of the points made in my paper about what's different in recent years in the market for and production of complex legal services of the kind BigLaw traditionally provides. This is set out at pages 49-51 of the "New Normal" paper if you want to see it in more detail. To that limited extent, I join issue with Simkovic and McIntyre. I do have other thoughts about their very interesting paper, which I may post about soon.

Bernie

Alfred Brophy

MacK, I understand that the footnote related to a specific dataset. I was trying to figure out what anons *might* have been referring to.

As your to comment. Where's that 760,000 number from? I'm seeing 728,000 lawyers in 2010 but I don't see that 760,000 number. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm

Also, to respond to Incredulous' statement: "If you do the math you get a number of non solo lawyers just over 450,000, but that number includes part time and temp jobs." Doesn't the BLS say it's closer to 580,000. (I'm not sure whether that includes part time or not.) http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes231011.htm

BoredJD

"A few other thoughts. I don't see any reason for law schools to stop raising tuition. In fact I can see this increases accelerating as prospective students become better informed about the gov't's incredibly generous programs to help people pay off their loans."

The problem is that these programs are extremely generous only in the context of having 200K or 300K of debt hanging over your head for 20 years and being in "partial financial hardship." To pitch these programs to students involves a tacit admission by the law school that the starting salaries they can expect are not enough to cover their loan payments. From a marketing perspective it's a disaster, because students go to law school not just to pay the bills and eat ramen, but expect to be financially successful or at the very least secure. Law schools have worked so very hard not to be required to disclose accurate salary data, but pitching PAYE allows students to infer that those mythical 85-110K jobs don't really exist.

Relying on PAYE is extremely elitist- big firms and federal clerkships for the law professors, 20 years of partial financial hardship and a tax bomb for our students! And of course, the federal government would not have to get rid of PAYE for undergrads in order to stop law schools from taking advantage of the program. A few simple tweaks will kill that cash cow while still maintaining the government's revenue stream.

MacK

BLS data can be confusing - there is the wage and salary survey which is based on employed lawyers 580,000 or thereabouts - and the occupational survey which includes solos and self employed/partners - which is 700k or thereabouts - you have to do some adding up of BLS data which is how the Harvard link I cited got to 760,000 - a number that seems out of date - it may have fallen to 728,000 or less. The ABA claims that it acts for the interests of 1,100,000 - excluding the detail that I cannot recall the ABA acting in my interest - it has a strong interest in exaggerating its constituency.

Various calculations have been made for the number of under 65 JD holders extant and alive in the US - they usually come out at about 1.5 million.

CHS

It is not true that professors never suffer consequences for making arguments that are wrong. It depends on the circumstances, and where and when they make the statements. It is also not true that practitioners always suffer penalties for making wrong arguments. There are so many different contexts to law practice, not just partners and associates. Go to courts and listen to some of the arguments being made every day. And not only the infallible succeed at firms.

Incredulous Guest who thinks you are Scamming Us

The two sets of BLS data are not consistent with one another. My understanding is that the 728,000 number is much newer and considered much more accurate.

A very useful tool would be an analysis of the BLS data in light of first year employment statistics and ABA statistics about numbers of law school grads and where they are working.

I see many lawyers coming out of big law and small law without jobs and vastly increasing unemployment among experienced lawyers each year. Many experienced lawyers are left with no place to go, and no marketable skills, including many from big law.

The numbers, whichever set you use, point to a huge oversupply of lawyers over and above the graduating class' inability to find employment.

The law profs on this site should be parsing the data and determining what the real level of lawyer unemployment is.

anon

The growing divide between "law profs" and "lawyers" on this site is unfortunate. To the extent that I have contributed to it, I add this by way of clarification: the debates about the market for new grads of law school ignore that most of the American public is not overserved by attorneys and this point is lost on a law academy too out of touch with the practice of law.
In my view, it is at least in part the responsibility of the law academy to train attorneys to serve their communities. In this, I believe the law academy has failed miserably (though perhaps less at the upper reaches, which is the reason the pain is felt more acutely now, as Burk helpfully documents).
So inevitably, I believe, the debates about the reason that so many lawyers are unemployed while the public remains underserved go to the way that law students are trained and the way they are encouraged to think about the law and the practice of law.
HERE, in this respect, is where the differences arise.
Law faculties, managing law schools, were unable to anticipate and respond the now-recognized crisis as the conditions that produced it built. It is my contention this is directly attributable to hiring practices in recent years.
First, I don't think that there is much ground to dispute that there is a condescending attitude among law faculty that practitioners resent. Combine the above with an attitude that says “Too much practice, too much law and lawyering in the mix? No, no, no!” That is just weird.
Weird or not, this attitude translates in hard reality. Hiring practices of late have focused on persons who know little about the actual practice of law and lawyering, and debates here on the FL are exposing this.
For example, a Ph.D. is often a valuable qualification in law faculty hiring, but the Ph.D. will almost always be in a subject that has nothing to do with law or lawyering.
Hence, a legal historian (surely there is a need for some person with this interest) may be a must hire even though 90% of her students will go into practice or business and benefit from her subject matter expertise about as much as philosophy majors do from their study in the "real world" (i.e., the world of earning money in a profession for which one has paid dearly for training).
Likewise, identity is also often a valuable if not paramount qualification, as the FAR form itself demonstrates. Thus, immutable characteristics of birth that have nothing to do with the law or lawyering, teaching or scholarship are often proudly trumpeted as more important than other, seemingly more pertinent qualifications. (A recent piece in the New Republic makes clear that those possessing the favored identities are mostly drawn from the upper middle class in any event; thus, this particular form of invidious discrimination often merely favors the identity of the privileged more as a matter of politics than as a true and honest effort to achieve equality of opportunity.)
As a recent comment thread demonstrated, the "group think" in the law academy is so pronounced that any QUESTION about this or any other of its values and priorities is assumed to be raised by an "outsider." This sort of attitude just doesn't exist in the marketplace of ideas and inclinations in the real world of legal practice - at least when viewed in toto.
Will a change in hiring practices, a change that would emphasize "real world" experience combined with a scholarly bent, change law schools overnight? Of course not.
But, a faculty of such persons would have been better able to cope with changing real world realities, in my view. For example, the realization that law firms increasingly could not afford to train law grads completely oblivious to the "real world" was obvious years before the year 2008.
Finally, as others have noted, the sort of inept and emotional way that so many law profs on this site tend to argue basic factual points and matters of opinion demonstrates that actual experience in being accurate, persuasive and professional is important. Judges often will simply rule against positions supported only by name-calling and childish attacks on the others. Not so, it seems, in a sheltered world of like-minded individuals.
Folks do learn. And, training in practice, combined with broad skills in research and presentation, makes for a good teacher, a good scholar and a good manager. Inexperience in the "real world" combined with narrow research interests and limited manners of presentation, with no managerial experience, does not make for good managers of a law school, to say the least.
Hence, the crisis, which, as stated above, began long before 2008.

Incredulous Guest who thinks you are Scamming Us

For those of us who actually taught in law schools (I taught at a top law school as an adjunct for several years while working full time), I don't think this crisis can be solved by teaching people more of what is being taught in law schools. I think the supply demand curve has shifted so much against lawyers, that maybe people should be taught other areas - such as compliance, in law schools and should be able to intern in compliance through the law school (there are clearly different skill sets needed, depending on the area of compliance), or should be taught human resources or labor relations or the like and be able to intern in these areas through the law school. You can't teach too many people these things because there is a limited demand for each area. However, right now, some areas are in demand and some are not, and the law schools would better serve people by actually helping experienced lawyers who are not working learn about the in demand areas and intern in those areas through the law school. I am not talking about domestic violence (better served by calling the police and getting a low cost divorce) or eviction, where a lawyer probably cannot do all that much in the long term for the client who is not paying the rent. I am talking about corporate areas where lawyers can be gainfully employed and which have picked up. Employment law and investment management may have some room today for additional lawyers - teach that and help lawyers intern in that.

The real solution to the employment problem is to cut back law school enrollment drastically.

CHS

The people who appear on this site, practitioners and law professors alike, represent a tiny, tiny fraction of the thousands of people in those respective professions. As interesting as all this is, it would be a mistake to take too seriously what transpires here, and see the words and views offered as representative of either group. The blogosphere is not the world, and the legal blogosphere is even less of it. The people on this site whom you think are making bad arguments and are law professors are not all "law professors" . They are people on this site making what you think are bad arguments. They are not all law professors-- just individuals; and not many at that. How many-- 4, 5, 6? We can say the same thing about the lawyers who write in.

As to law firms not being able to afford to train lawyers-- the fact is that law schools have never trained people to practice law. They began as an efficient way to introduce people to a wider range of subjects than they could be exposed to in an apprenticeship. The people who are whinging about young people not being "practice-ready" when they are hired were not practice-ready when they were hired. Someone--older lawyers--taught them how to practice. They simply do not want to do for this generation what was done for them. It has always puzzled me that people do not see this as a problem.

anon

CHS:
I beg to differ in some respects.
Of course, law school wasn't always based on the model devised by Christopher Columbus Langdell. Lincoln is a good example. "Reading" the law was the model. Learning the law was directly related to the practice of law.
Of course, as I said above, Harvard and other top tier law schools have done and still do mostly a reasonably good job of preparing young people to take the jobs available at the highest end of the market. I'm sure you know the old joke: "He didn't go to law school, he went to Yale." That's ok, and I think I pointed to that. But, that market is shrinking (as Burke has shown) and the number of law schools necessary to feed Big Law is dwindling in theory if not in fact. What of all the rest?
I agree that in the "old days" senior attorneys perhaps sensed more than now an obligation to pass on to the next generation of lawyers training, like a guild. It is not true, however, that today "they simply do not want to do for this generation what was done for them." Economics have changed, yes, but so too has the state of training of law school graduates, especially in the traditions and culture of practice.
This pitiful state of inculcation in the mores of the practice of law, in my view, is directly attributable to the hiring practices in the law academy. Filling the ranks of law faculties with immature, inexperienced, mostly sheltered individuals with a lifetime of top notch schooling in subjects other than law and a couple of years of low-level work in Big Law behind them (not much training) is guaranteed to produce new associate professors who not only don’t know how to practice law, but also have no idea why one would practice law. They simply can’t convey what they don’t know and so obviously don’t care about.
My contention is that if the law faculties are clueless about the practice of law, then they cannot impart the values and traditions and skills necessary to both practice and love the law. Law schools are suffering now because of the absence of a real world appreciation of the changing dynamics in the legal profession and the failure to plan for and keep up with a changing market. Isolated from reality of practice, this failure is completely understandable.
Graduates suffer more and are less able to cope with changing economic conditions as a result.
In this regard, blogs like this one and many others where new “scholarship” is debated are important and emblematic. All the blaming that the law academy is placing on the economy and the oversupply of lawyers (for which federal loans and the greed of the law academy are mostly responsible) seems sort of unseemly.
What is not understandable is that, in the face of all the evidence that points to its deficiencies, the law academy does not seem to be willing to take a good hard look to see what it might change to improve the value of a law school education.
After years of looking down their noses at practitioners and by focusing more and more attention on subjects that are of less and less interest to the broader legal community, I would suggest that the US law academy should start getting its act together by bringing more attorney/scholars in the door, as peers not subordinates, and listening to what they have to say.

MacK

CHS -

there is a basic causality problem in all the complaints - a sort of chick, egg, henhouses, farm problem - what came first? And also somewhat of a feedback loop problem.

Complaints about the 'training' law schools give their students are eternal, because, even with clinics, there is very little that law schools can practically do to address the issue of experience (and since I work internationally, apprenticeship is far from the panacea that many in the US think it is, while law as an undergraduate degree produces very narrow graduates.) The complaints though have become more vocal as law school tuition has risen to levels that mean that even at the vaunted $160k p.a. salary of new BigLaw associates, they may have trouble paying their student loans.

The difficulty is that a law firm can afford to hire a first year associate and to a degree invest in that associate, writing down bills, having him/her start at basic work, etc. when salary levels are say $50k p.a. and raise the pay over 3-5 years if the associate proves-out. However, at $80k plus, let alone $160k, allowing for overhead that associate costs at least $200k a year, maybe $300k Not even the most profitable firms can afford that sort of investment. Thus the demand is for the new lawyer to be a revenue generator within months - that the bulk of that associate's time be wholly billable to clients. The problem is that the clients (and GCs who were BigLaw associates and partners) have come to realise that 1st and 2nd year associate time is vastly over-priced and often wasted. Thus the clients will not pay. (One solution has been to use such juniors on relatively price insensitive work - M&A for example. Another is to create the "micro-competent" associate, a hyper-specialised associate good at one thing. An example would be a 9-year Skadden associate who had spend almost all those years putting together HSR 2nd Req. responses - by then useless for anything else.)

Of course it can also fairly be pointed out that during the fat years for BigLaw (when it still hired only a minority of JD graduates) there was a bidding war for associates because clients were will to pay inflated hourly rates for junior associates, and firms had decided that they would not write down even wasted time (I saw big firms lose lucrative clients over those practices.) Junior associates from the top schools were worth it because where leverage was the way in which equity partners made money, and clients would pay, every junior associate became a profit centre. (At the same time this process dragged out the partnership track and reduced the number of lawyers who received equity partnerships - it made rainmaking the most important aspect of the business model, so why share - this lowers the leverage.) Of course the auction that occurred between the late 80s (with a hiccup from 91-94) for the T-14 graduates (or at leats the top ones) drove up pay, and led both to the greedy-associates phenomenon and the less open greedy-law-schools phenomenon. Tuition soared for two reasons - student loans with no underwriting standards, and the belief that law schools had that they should get a share of the money.

Making all of this worse was two trends - the rapid growth in the number of law schools and number of graduates (universities and colleges spotted that law schools were a tuition cash-cow, which they have milked into chronic mastitis) and the growing taste (or vanity) of the law school professoriate, who wanted to be regarded as genuine scholars rather than as teachers in a trade school. The result is that law professors frequently embraced "scholarship" that would be an embarrassment to even the MLA (and their scholarship is pretty extreme in its silliness - see for an example of it being practically mocked, Alan Sokal Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity, Social Text Spring/Summer 1996. (better known as Sokal's joke.)

At the back of all of this is that the debate still seems to centre on the T-14 law schools and BigLaw, and all look to these places as a model for legal eduction and practice, while it seems that every law school was and is pricing itself for BigLaw, even though only a very small minority of law graduates go to BigLaw, and BigLaw is changing its hiring practices as BigClients change their payment and law firm retention practices.

The whole situation is a circle of sins, a "negative" feedback loop - the bad behaviour of BigLaw spurring bad behaviour in law schools, spurring further bad behaviour by schools, the excessive pay in BigLaw for junior lawyers spurring both tuition increases and a tendency for people to go to law school simply because they think it is an easy path to a high paying job. All of this has been lubricated by two publications - US New & World Report and the American Lawyer. However, the biggest sin now is the people who claim nothing is wrong (and Bernie Burk is evidently not one of this group.)

Incredulous Guest who thinks you are Scamming Us - you are incorrect when you say that "[t]he two sets of BLS data are not consistent with one another." The data sets report two different things. The set with the 580,000 is not a report of the number of lawyers - it is a report on wages and salaries - based on those lawyers that the BLS categorises as employed (by someone else.) BLS excludes self employed lawyers and equity partners from this survey - so all solos, all small firm eat-what you kill partnerships and also BigLaw equity partners are excluded. This is just those on a salary. The set that reports circa 7,000,000 (depending on the way you add it up 728,000 to 780,000) is an occupational survey or data set - it counts everyone in a set occupation regardless of how they are employed - so so all solos, all small firm eat-what you kill partnerships and also BigLaw equity partners are included. Thus the sets are consistent - they simply have different ways of counting. If you want to know what most employed [by someone else] lawyers make, the first set is the one to use, if you want to know how many there are (including inter alia law professors in Harvard's count), the second set is the one to use.

By the way, the first data set, because it excludes a large number of small-law lawyers, solos and those in small all partner firms (as well as some BigLaw equity partners), probably overstates average lawyer incomes.

CHS

@ Anon-- Thank you for your thoughtful response. And I want to be clear: I did not mean that there are no older lawyers who want to do for young lawyers what was done for them. I know many, many of them who do. I was focusing on those who complain about the training of young lawyers who are no more "green" than the complainers were when they came into the profession. In fact, there are many more ways for law students to have real word experience than existed in years past. Clinics and externships are parts of the law school experience today, and students take advantage of them. I suspect law students today are better prepared than we were. They certainly have the opportunities to be.

As to the charge that most people in the academy think everything is just fine, what is the evidence of that? Again, participation on Internet discussions is really no way to gauge what thousands of people in 200 schools are thinking. There are those who participate on the Internet, and those who do not. And those in the “do not” category swamp, by some huge factor, those who do. And there is nothing wrong with that. There is no virtue to commenting online. This is a hobby we have--in my case a wasteful one-- that does not allow us to gather much useful information. What we mostly have is anecdote and, recently, a handful of people’s online heated responses to a paper that, probably, has yet to percolate throughout the academy. In the law schools with which I am familiar there has been much ferment for years about the changing environment, pedagogy, how to partner with practitioners (beyond using them as adjuncts) and the future of law schools. This is another anecdote, I know, but this is what we have.

Finally, as I really must go back to work, the things that are happening in law firms, government law offices, and law schools are part of much bigger structural changes in the national and world economy that are producing (not producing) jobs in a different manner than the past. They are not happening because there are too many law professors with PhDs. Mentioning this is not an avoidance technique, as is often charged when people bring this up in the context of discussing legal education. We have to do what we can in our world, but we can only do that effectively if we keep the bigger picture in mind.

John Thompson

As to the charge that most people in the academy think everything is just fine, what is the evidence of that?

Many law schools (e.g., UC-Hastings, GW) have adopted a strategy of preserving their position in the market for prospective law students by reducing class sizes to the point where they can expect to have similar applicant quality (i.e., GPA/LSAT averages) to past years. While I would like to think that deans at least considered it in terms of reducing the misery experienced by their future graduates, the truth is probably that these schools have decided that they are prepared to accept less money over the next few years in exchange for stabilizing their U.S. News ranking and thus their market share of prospective students as much as possible. Where applicant quality cannot be held stable, U.S. News ranking must decline and therefore also the ability of the school to command an effective tuition rate sufficient to cover the cost of operations, a large portion of which is in professors' PC&B.

The problem I have with Burk's assertion about lower class sizes making for better employment rates is that I don't trust law schools not to increase class sizes as soon as the number of LSAT takers will allow them to do so without endangering their U.S. News ranking. If law schools were convinced of the need for permanent change, I would expect to see deans calling for a long-term freeze or decline in class sizes, or tuition that everyone claims to find exorbitant. I would expect to see the Standard 509 subcommittee making sure that the most granular salary data held by any law school was returned to prospective law students in the clearest possible form, instead of pushing back the NALP reporting date for employment to ten months from nine after graduation. As it is, I can't believe that any law school is doing anything but preparing to live on a reduced income doing all of the same things it's been doing, and hoping that hard times fall hardest on their competitors.

There is no virtue to commenting online.

I respectfully disagree. In 2007, law school was an excellent investment and a versatile degree that would allow its holder to gain entry to all manner of employment, law or otherwise. In 2013, "(e)veryone agrees that job prospects for many new graduates have been poor for many years," although Burk does not allude to all of the naysaying and handwaving from members of the legal academy up to the point that this became conventional wisdom. What made the difference was a groundswell of poorly edited rage and depression that caught the attention of an increasing number of people in legal education and journalism, leading up to Campos' blog and the New York Times pieces by David Segal. If legal academia isn't paying attention to what it sees on the Internet because it's insufficiently nuanced or thoughtful in its tone, legal academia is making a mistake. The Internet is where your future classes of prospective students live, and they can look past the habitual use of swearing or name-calling to derive a point about legal education - so you might as well try to do the same.

anon

The past few comments have been, in my view, excellent. In the Faculty Lounge, here are comments that are thoughtful and well worth reading - and civil.
I would amplify my thoughts about one issue raised by CHS: "there is very little that law schools can practically do to address the issue of experience."
Well, yes and no. Without getting into the value of "clinics" (I tend to agree with your comment in this regard), I would urge you to read my post again to see the point I was making: the point was not so much about experience in practice attained by students during law school.

Anonymous JOnes

I agree with anon. Comments here have been excellent, thoughtful, civil and worth reading.

Academics are right to be defensive and 90%+ of the legal academy act in good faith and likely care about students. What troubles me is the overall silence of academics given the obvious failings of the academy and the struggles of our recent graduates. With the exception of a few very visible and vocal venomous critics, few have been willing to rock the boat.

I do not view legal academia as uniform. I wonder why a professor at a traditional university would not be concerned about the actions of the diploma mills or the for profits. Frankly, the latter schools are threatening what you hold dear -- the century old American law school model. You're letting profiteers ruin a system that you care about, and you're standing united with them.

I would expect the faculty to fight back. Why not lobby to limit loans, limit class sizes, improve quality, improve quality of graduate outcomes, etc.? If schools were to take steps to ensure that accreditation meant that students could not graduate with more than $100,000 in debt and that 80% plus of graduates were required to be employed full time, long term in non-solo positions, the ship would right itself, graduates would be better off, and the entire legal academy would not be threatened. Why do you want to stand with the diploma mills or the for profiteers? Whose interest does it serve? Do you really thing it serves underrepresented communities, the public interest, the graduates of those institutions, or the American legal system?

Start fighting back.

anon

Anonymous Jones:
Years ago, certain law schools were threatened by the ABA with loss of accreditation because of poor bar pass rates.
In other words, grads of these schools, in alarming numbers, were unable even to obtain the minimum credential necessary to obtain employment as a lawyer.
To my knowledge, no law school lost it accreditation.
This weak attempt at policing the law school world points to an overall problem. Law schools, and the faculties that govern them, have not been sufficiently accountable. This is the reason that the voices loudest among them are now crying foul: they resent scrutiny, and they aren't accustomed to it.
(Note the crowing about “winning” suits based on plaintiffs’ lack of reliance on concededly false information instead of some honest soul searching about the culture that produced this phenomena.)
The recent watered down draft by the ABA relating to law school reform is representative of the problem.
Here are some concrete proposals:
1. No taxpayer-backed student loans to any law school student at a law school that doesn't achieve 75% placement in full-time, JD required jobs within one year after graduation (under those circumstances, would a law school still be able to charge 40K per year for a 4th tier law school education? Sure, of course, but its students would need to either pay out of pocket or obtain loans in a market that would underwrite their loans and (hopefully) help to enforce strict regulation requiring truth telling);
2. Change law school faculty hiring practices, in the ways outlined above (i.e., more emphasis on law and lawyering and less on unrelated training, such as Ph.Ds in peripheral fields, favor experience in practice and demonstrated affinity for the law as experienced by lawyers, as well as scholarship in areas relevant to the real world of lawyering; abandon political objectives in hiring that ignore class status while emphasizing immutable characteristics of birth);
3. Reinforce in current faculty the notion that they must never disrespect the profession for which they are purportedly preparing their students (those on law faculties will know the extent of the culture of disdain for practice and practitioners).
These would be game changers, I believe.

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