First, there’s the matter of money. Law schools and their law students are cash cows. As a matter of fact, Law School Economics are such that law schools generate as much as 30 percent of a university’s’ revenues. Think the schools are going to give up all that money?
Second, you have a bunch of well-paid “happy law professors without a sane reason under heaven to upend their fortuitous circumstances. Will law school tenured faculty give up six-figure median pay and work that amounts to almost 400 hours less than the average U.S. employee. Are you nuts?
Then you have the millions of dollars in revenue generated by the law school accrediting body, the ABA. And that’s not to mention the influence and power that the ABA wields over the lawyer body politic.
Fourth, there’s the million-dollar cottage industry that mooches off law school students by feeding off law school survival angst. The industry provides an endless array of neurosis inducing study aids that culminate in overpriced bar exam preparation programs, assuming the students survive the curriculum and graduate.
Fifth, there’s an entire industry of publishers, advertisers, consultants, administrators, top-tier law students and other self-promoting status seekers who live and die by the annual business of Law School Rankings.
And then you have lawyers themselves. More lawyers? As though there wasn’t already a “lawyer glut.” Also see “Data Spotlight: New Lawyers Glutting the Market (Updated).” Lawyers want less competition and fewer not more lawyers. Hurry! Add crocodiles to the moat. Tear down the drawbridge.
And haven’t unemployed and underemployed new graduates spent the past several years vociferously“Exposing The Law School Scam”? And more recently, suing over “Law Schools Who Award a Degree of “B.S.” with the J.D. As They Fudge Post-Graduation Job Numbers“?
And speaking of even more B.S., there’s the sop that somehow “the undergraduate option would improve graduate education by forcing law schools to justify their cost by offering additional benefits.” Since when?
It’s not as though undergraduate schools aren’t already themselves hosing students and their parents with constantly escalating tuition costs. When are those baseless rising college costs going to be justified?
Indeed, without an iota of evidence in support, the most breathtaking assumption offered by Messrs. McGinnis and Mangas is their pollyannaish statement that“lowering the cost of legal education,” causally increases“the supply of lawyers willing to charge lower fees” thereby broadening access to legal services for middle and lower-income consumers.
In all seriousness, what’s needed are realistic solutions to break up the cartel, improve transparency, enhance competition, and truly reform law schools.
Photo credits: Keg photo by Brian Lane Winfield Moore via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution and share alike distribution at Flickr.