[An op/ed in the Wall Street Journal provides] an interesting idea but there are logistics for a U.S. implementation, such as funding those law libraries at schools without one, wondering who would be the accrediting agency for such a program, and how would the state Supreme Courts react to the idea of undergraduate bar takers. The upside, in theory, would be a lot more lawyers trained at a lower cost and able to provide legal services to those of more limited means. I wouldn’t hold my breath for this to happen. For all of the criticism directed at them, I believe law schools like the current model. If only the dang market would cooperate and provide the requisite number of jobs. …
[L]aw schools seem to be pushing back on the idea that law school needs to be reformed, if the comments by faculty in the National Law Journal are to be believed. The most recent article covers the reactions of faculty and others at the talk from the recent Association of American Law Schools meeting. It’s sort of a crises, but there is no consensus on how serious it is or if it really requires change. One point in the article is that responding to changes in the profession does not rank high with law faculties. My experience in several law schools is that getting an article published in a good law review is the greatest concern as that assists with promotion. I don’t think the lack of jobs is perceived by the faculty as a threat to the law school, at least not yet.
Some are quoted as saying that employment patterns don’t seem to be changing no matter how the student is trained. The implication is that the cachet of the law school is more important than a graduate’s individual skill. The further implication is why bother changing how law schools operate if that is the situation. I suppose if the inventory of law graduates saddled with significant debt continues to grow compared to the number of jobs available, the number of law applicants may actually drop as that reality continues to exist. That may motivate schools to change.
- Wall Street Journal: First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Law Schools (January 17, 2012)
- Word on the Streeterville: Wall Street Journal Post on “Killing all the Law Schools”: A Reply (January 17, 2012) (a post by Northwestern Law's dean, Dan Rodriguez)