The ABA has finally acknowledged that the legal profession is in a tailspin by publishing The Value Proposition of Attending Law School. The document essentially just says that law school is really expensive, salaries are not as high as prospective law students think, and that most people who go to law school will graduate into a lifetime of being screwed.
Noticeably absent the “The Value Proposition,” is the ABA’s hand in this mess.
Yes, the ABA — that festering slop bucket of do-nothing bozos who stamped their seal of approval on every head injury clinic that wanted to call itself a law school, as long as its faculty and administration dropped to their knees and fellated the ABA’s absurd “educational” requirements. The ABA, the same organization that gave accreditation to Liberty, Regent, and Ave Maria indoctrination centers for the developmentally disabled. Yes, that same ABA.
This is the same ABA that will not allow schools like the Massachusetts School of Law to bear the accreditation title because of outdated standards that have nothing to do with the quality of teaching at the school. Mass law is cheaper than most public law schools and churns out students who are taught by adjuncts — meaning people who have a goddamned clue how to practice law.
The ABA prefers that professors have no connection to the actual practice of law, and does not count a professor as a full time faculty member if they maintain a law practice. Because…. well, who would want to learn to do a thing from someone who actually does that thing?
This is the same ABA that said that there is nothing wrong with outsourcing legal work to the same boneheads in India who answer your customer service calls. (source). This is the same ABA that not only will accredit any toilet that plays its game, but that won’t even affirmatively state that foreign law schools can’t become accredited.
So remember, the ABA created a glut of law schools, which shat out a glut of law graduates. Then, blind to the glut, the ABA felched the ass of BIGLAW while kneeling on the profession’s chest by approving their plans to ship thousands of legal jobs to Mumbai. Now, they think that prospective students should watch out — that the market isn’t as good as they might otherwise believe.
And nowhere in this document do we find the ABA accepting responsibility for its heavy hand in this train wreck.
Fuck the ABA.
1) I don’t see that document linked anywhere on the splash page of http://www.abanet.org
2) Talk is cheap. Disaccredit some schools, commit to not accrediting international schools, and issue further guidance that says, basically, “oops, outsourcing to India is unethical. Sorry!” Considering India won’t return the favor and let US attorneys practice there, it seems fair.
3) Let’s also not forget why the ABA has to accredit every crap shack with Westlaw access – Janet Reno. The ABA was much more judicious about accreditation until the mid-1990s. Since then, almost two dozen law schools have been accredited. Due to the consent decree in the antitrust action brought by the DOJ, the ABA can’t say no to accreditation so that we can have more YAY EGALITARIANISM in this country.
As someone who isn’t a lawyer the problem to doesn’t seem to be accrediting too many law schools but letting just about any undergraduate degree be thought of as good qualifications for Law School.
A young relative of mine will be finishing his History degree from a well respected Liberal Arts school (sometime after he gets back from his semester abroad). I don’t think he likes teaching and nobody listened to me when I suggested perhaps thinking about what you want todo before you spend $200K might be a good idea. I’m an engineer I can say he won’t be welcome there, The medical profession won’t have him, etc. A Law degree may not net a good job but is a better option than flippin’ burgers.
Until Law School isn’t seen as a good default choice of what to do with your History/English/Communications/Psychology degree it seems like it won’t matter how many law schools their are. The common rhetoric I hear is any degree that teaches ‘critical thinking skills’ is good for Law School. Well guess what they ALL claim todo that.
BTW I’m not actually claiming that I think any degree is suitable for Law school or that any idiot that partied for 4 years is a good candidate but that seems to be the common impression (just do a web search). However if all it takes is a degree and to a large extent getting a good score on a multiple choice test (LSAT) that will create the demand. Perhaps the LSATs are better than the SATs but I’ve yet to see a multiple choice test I couldn’t pass without half a day of studying.
I agree with this. I think there should be a required pre-law program. The ABA could address that with a mere flick of a pen. They won’t.
I don’t have much exposure to antitrust law, but wouldn’t the easiest way for keeping new law schools from opening be to increase the startup costs for law schools (not sure how to do this). Law schools will naturally try to pass that on to the students, which would raise tuition even more for the shit schools. However, to combat that (ie, supply-side economics), we would have to create greater costs to the consumers (demand-side economics). Plenty of options exist to scare away potential law students. Require them to take a bunch of courses (perhaps a calc course, basic economics, basic philosophy, basic accounting, a business course, fulfill a writing requirement, etc.), increase the cost of taking the lsat (with some breaks for the poor; must include parent’s tax info if under 30) and only let them take it once per year.
I would think this would cut out 50% of the potential 0Ls. A lot of the schools would weed out 0Ls with those required courses just like schools weed out the med school kids with physics and organic bio.
I can’t think of any way to actually increase the startup costs for schools all that much because it doesn’t take much to create a learning environment for lawyers (esp, like hospitals and all that crap med schools do), so demand-side economics is the best way to address the problem.
Hmm… Some have equated state bar associations to labor unions; and I imagine that the ABA has probably been likened to a national labor union. If, in fact, that is truly what they are, as opposed to a non-bias licensing agency; then it would make sense why the ABA may be to blame – because they are a labor union – and labor unions seek to restrict competition, control the marketplace, and receive money for others’ work.
But if that were the case, then the question that comes up is, “why would lawyers care to keep the bar associations and the ABA in place?” The answer would have to be because the ABA could somehow keep the majority of the “union’s” members employed; but the only way I imagine that could be accomplished would be by pushing legislation that would create new issues for their members to litigate in court. Seems that such a strategy would an obvious approach. It wouldn’t really matter if the legislation had anything at all to do with the legal profession, itself. In fact, it would be more beneficial to lobby legislation that created new avenues of revenue; such as legislation ranging from gun control to warrant-less wiretapping. After all, those types of constitutionally infringing laws will get them the most business; guaranteeing that citizens will be stirred to outrage and take the battle to the courts. Thus, resulting in almost instantaneous job creation for their verdict-hungry members.
[…] that that’s something that law schools, for instance — including some the best in the country — do habitually, every day. Pretty much […]