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February 26, 2019


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I'm sure you remember the series of posts on this website, a few years ago, that predicated that the present would be the best market in history: and that therefore, the best time to enroll in law school was back then, when those bold claims were made.

Do you believe there should be any accountability for, for example, a person who made these claims to induce persons to enroll in his law school, despite howls of protest that such claims about the best time in history to enroll in law school were suspect, if not worse.


here's a little sample of the pitch, from 2014:

"Why am I telling you this? Because I want prospective law students to know that this time I mean it. Enroll today or you will miss out on what might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Namely, the chance to graduate from law school in 2017-2018, which will likely be one of the best times ever to graduate from law school."


Here was the kicker, on the "Demand" side:

"These are just four scenarios. I could generate thirty of these if you'd like, but they'd all look pretty similar (and this posting would require a lot of scrolling). Except for Graph #4, which presents a scenario where the job market declines by the same proportion as it did during the worst economic downturn since the 1930's, they all show the "gap" between supply and demand mostly disappearing by 2017-2018."


"Do you believe there should be any accountability..."

What would "accountability" look like here to you, anon? It's hard to evaluate the question without knowing this.


Accountability should be to name and shame the scammer (Barker? Recruiter?) and to acknowledge that those in the legal educational industrial complex are biased (consciously or unconsciously) towards feeding the beast even at the expense of foreseeably poor student outcomes.

Bernie Burk

Anon, Your quotations do ring a bell, but only faintly. Can you remind us where they came from? And do you remember others?




This website.

For a start, all you need to do is search for "enroll" in the search box.

I would think we would all remember the lengthy debates about these and similar statements.

As for accountability, Matt, I would hesitate to start prescribing the consequences. I would start by asking the question above: if these statements were made by any person whose duties involved admissions, to induce students to enroll, what level of scrutiny would be appropriate?

If regular readers of the FL - perhaps some who participated in such debates -- don't remember the debates on this site, that went on for months, about these (and other like) statements (by others, as well), all I can say is that memories must be growing shockingly short.


I remember the debate, in which the tactics of certain people, including the person quoted by anon became shockingly nasty.

Earlier in the debate I made the point, that the graphs bear out, that law schools, seen as an industry, was over-capacity by 100%, i.e., that only halving the number of graduates would stabilise the profession. Your graphs bear that point out. The thing that drove a certain law professor into a rage was the second point that costs needed to halve, and that this meant that the number of faculty needed to halve and many law schools needed to close. So far only a few have closed.... so....

I'd also point out that the US is not the only legal market with a shocking overproduction problem. In the in 2017-18, 26,655 UK students applied to law courses leading to a qualifying undergraduate level in England and Wales, out of whom 18,850 UK students were accepted on to courses (it was around 25k a few years ago) - probably a few thousand more in Scotland and Northern Ireland with 3-5,000 seeking to do qualifying post-graduate diplomas. A qualifying degree/diploma is the pre-requisite to going on the train as a solicitor or barrister - but training places are about 3-5,000 p.a. So the UK is producing around 5 to 10 times as many people with qualifying degrees/diplomas as can ever have a chance of becoming practicing lawyers (and the Republic of Ireland graduates compete in the same market.)

Other places I'm familiar with, Germany, France, Belgium, Spain and Italy are not much better, though in the latter three you also need to take account of the impact of nepotism/enchufismo/raccomandazione which means that in reality, many of the students will not get a chance to practice law if they are not from a legal/political family. In Japan it is different in that there are a host of actual legal tracks beyond being a bengoshi and most law graduates - 90% plus don't even try to enter legal training, but join corporations.

In short, the US has a problem with overproduction of law graduates, but it is not a problem limited to the US - it seems global in developed countries.


I'd add that Bernie - it would be interesting if you'd cover off in your paper at least a little of how other large economies deal with the overproduction of law graduates.

The "undergraduate" argument has a weakness - I can't see my firm hiring an entry level lawyer who didn't have a STEM or similar degree and in reality, many firms in the UK appear to prefer those whose undergraduate degree was in a subject other than law as being more rounded and ultimately better lawyers.


Let's not forget this oldie but goodie, from these very pages:

"August 20, 2014

The Coming Lawyer Shortage

In this post, I will argue that within a few years there will be a shortage of entry-level lawyers. Law school enrollments have dropped so much that the demand for new lawyers will far exceed the supply of law school graduates. In a relatively short time, we will have gone from an environment where employers received hundreds of resumes for every open position to one where employers might not receive any resumes at all ….

[W]e can say with virtual certainly that the class of 2017 will graduate into the best entry-level job market in recent memory.

... In just a few years, there will not be enough entry level lawyers to meet basic demand.”

What's the verdict here, Bernie? How accurate were these predictions?

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