As administrators and faculty members from the nation’s law schools gathered here today, there was a general sense among those assembled that legal education is facing challenges. But they found little agreement on what exactly those challenges are, let alone what will be necessary to solve them.
The majority of sessions Thursday were dedicated to subjects other than the turmoil that has swept through the law school world in the past year. But in a workshop dedicated to the future of the legal profession and legal education, much time was spent discussing the new reality for law school graduates and what, if anything, law schools can do — even as it largely elided the more controversial aspects of the situation, such as charges that law schools have deceived their students by reporting misleading employment data. …
For the most part, the law school representatives and panelists focused on a few select issues in what has become known as the “crisis”: that law students are taking on increasing amounts of debt yet having more trouble finding jobs to pay it off, leading to a questioning of the value of American legal education in general and even raising the possibility of Congressional hearings and increased regulation.
Much of the conversation focused on how to better prepare students for the job market …. Other presenters focused on cutting the prices students pay so they would have to borrow less money over all. And some, including the president of the American Bar Association, delivered a full-throated defense of American legal education, which they said may not be perfect but is still valuable. …
American Bar Association William Robinson III  defended American legal education as the finest in the world. “So many who never went to law school want to talk about law school as a trade school,” Robinson said. “It is not. It is a school of higher learning” — a statement that drew spontaneous applause.
“I have never seen law school as being about job security,” he said, calling the criticism of recent months unfair. “What we were taught is education is about opportunity, not about job security.”