Sunday, April 3, 2011
Barbara Boxer Delivers Another Stiff Jab to the ABA’s Beak
On March 31, 2011, Barbara Boxer, U.S. senator from California, sent the above letter to ABA “president” Stephen Zack. Here is an excerpt:
“Most students reasonably expect to obtain post-graduation employment that will allow them to pay off their student loan debts, and rely on this information - which may be false at worst and misleading at best - to inform their decision.” [Emphasis mine]
Personally, I do not expect much to come from this letter. However, at a minimum, this will help spread the word to prospective law students, about the realities of law school. If you are a California resident, leave Boxer's staff a message here. If you live outside the state, then call and leave a message at 202-224-3553. Make sure that these policymakers are fully aware of the dire situation facing recent law grads.
Jason Dolin, adjunct law professor at Capital University, wrote a piece entitled, “Opportunity Lost: How Law School Disappoints Law Students, The Public, and the Legal Profession.”
“In my view there are two interconnected problems, both of which emanate from failings in the world of legal education. The first, is that law schools continue to produce large numbers of lawyers, flooding an already drowning market. The second is, that having flooded the market, law schools have refused to teach new lawyers how to swim – how to practice. Individually, the effects of either would be bad enough. Together, however, the effects of these two shortcomings have had a tremendously damaging effect on law students, the legal profession, and most importantly, the public.” [Emphasis mine]
On March 4, 2010, Brian Leiter, law professor at the University of Chicago, reported:
“CA Bar President Howard Miller (whose son, by the way, is well-known crim law scholar and U of Arizona professor Marc Miller) writes in part:
“There is notoriously unreliable self-reporting by law schools and their graduates of employment statistics. They are unreliable in only one direction, since the self-reporting by law schools of “employment” of graduates at graduation and then nine months after graduation are, together, a significant factor in the U.S. News rankings — which are obsessed over, despite denials, by law schools and their constituencies....
[W]e need to be transparent with potential lawyers about the cost and benefits of studying law. All law schools need to gather, verify and report, in consistent and specified ways, the employment record of their graduates, as well report on those who may have started, paid tuition, but never graduated. A good place to start is with our own California-accredited and registered law schools, over which the State Bar and the Committee of Bar Examiners have jurisdiction.” [Emphasis mine]
This was written by Miller, then-president of the California State Bar, not an angry unemployed “loser.”
On September 2, 2009, former litigator Dan Slater, came out swinging against the ABA:
“The American Bar Association, which continues to approve law schools with impunity and with no end in sight, bears complicity in creating this mess. Yet a spokeswoman, citing antitrust concerns, says the A.B.A. takes no position on the optimal number of lawyers or law schools. So then how about the schools? Can they save future generations of students from themselves?
If it means shrinking classes, don’t count on it. Limiting education is un-American, not to mention anticapitalist, even if many law schools appear to profit from what may charitably be called an inefficient distribution of market information.” [Emphasis mine]
Slater is fully aware that law school is a business. He also has the balls to call these pigs out.
Law firm management consultant Jerome Kowalski published this article, back in September 2010. Here is his conclusion:
“And, indeed, if you have reached this point in this note, in the unlikely event you haven’t already come to other obvious conclusions, here they are: (a) law schools must stop behaving like the beauty schools of 1990 and (b) law schools should make full, fair and candid disclosure to every law school applicant (before they even remit the application fee) and have each applicant sign a document that he or she has read the disclosures and understands them.”
Herwig Schlunk, law professor at Vanderbilt University, wrote an economic paper titled, “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be … Lawyers.” He concluded that law school is a bad investment for most students.
Back on June 13, 2010, Brian Tamanaha, law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, noted that the anemic lawyer job market is NOT due to the current state of the economy:
“This dismal situation was not created by the current recession—which merely spread the pain up the chain into the lower reaches of elite schools. This has been going on for years.”
In the final analysis, the word is spreading to prospective law students. As you can see, law school is a lousy “investment” for most students – and not just according to bitter TTT grads. If you are considering law school – in light of all the overwhelming evidence that law school is a bad idea – then you do so at your own peril. By the way, Stephen Zack: wipe yourself, you're bleeding.
Posted by Nando at 4:31 AM