Friday, February 6, 2015
Amazing Discoveries in Academia: Legal Clinics Do Not Improve Law Graduates’ Employment Outlook
The Verdict on Legal Clinics: Jason Webb Yackee, an associate “professor” at the University of Wisconsin Law Sewer, published a brief academic paper – in draft form - entitled “Does Experiential Learning Improve JD Employment Outcomes?” You can download the damn thing at the link above. Take a look at his conclusion:
“The ABA, through its recently amended accreditation standards, has increased the pressure on law schools to spend more of their dollars on skills training. This may be a good thing, but before deciding that it is, we should identify what we are hoping to accomplish, what it might prevent us from accomplishing, and we should use modern empirical methods, to the extent possible, to estimate the likelihood and magnitude of the anticipated consequences, both good and bad. This paper is a modest attempt to examine one anticipated consequence—that more skills training is likely to lead to better JD employment outcomes. The results, while certainly not definitive, are also not encouraging.
None of this is to say that skills education is necessarily wasted money. Law schools might rationally and justifiably invest in skills training to achieve other worthwhile goals unrelated to JD employment outcomes. It is easy to imagine a number of plausible and perhaps even empirically testable hypotheses about the positive consequences of skills training. For example, perhaps students who engage in skills training have a more enjoyable time in law school. Perhaps they enter their first job with more confidence and less stress. Perhaps they obtain better jobs than they otherwise would have obtained. Perhaps they have a meaningful impact on the lives of the legally underserved. Perhaps they are less likely to commit professional malpractice in their first jobs. And so on. Clinics and other experiential learning opportunities certainly have a role to play in modern legal education, and perhaps an important one. But in deciding how much to spend on providing such opportunities, law schools might want to consider the lack of evidence that such opportunities are likely to improve their graduates’ overall prospects of obtaining a quality job as a lawyer.” [Emphasis mine]
Yes, law grads are going to put their “advocacy skills” to use when they are selling insurance policies, tending bar, and stocking shelves, right?!?! And who doesn’t go to law school for the primary purpose of having an enjoyable time?! What better way to piss away three years of your life and incur an additional $135K+ in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt! That is more important than becoming a licensed attorney, correct?
Other Coverage: On February 5, 2015, the Washington Post featured an Orin Kerr op-ed piece labeled “Do law school clinics lead to more jobs for law school graduates?” Check out this excerpt:
“From the paper:
In this section I present a statistical analysis examining the correlation between employment outcomes and clinical opportunities. Graph 3 provides an initial examination, a simple scatterplot of employment outcomes versus clinical positions available as a percent of enrolled JD students. If clinical opportunities positively impacted employment outcomes, we would expect the data points to slope upward and to the right. In fact, the trend-line is slightly upward sloping, but it is not statistically significant (p=0.687). Moreover, if we remove Yale as an outlier, the trend-line is perfectly flat. In either case, the graph provides no evidence of a meaningful relationship between clinical opportunities and employment outcomes.” [Emphasis mine]
This is no surprise to the legions of JDs who were enrolled in garbage internships and clinics – and then ended up returning to their prior line of work or went into a typical, non-law office setting. By the way, when you end up in internships or TTT clinics, legal employers typically view you as a loser who couldn’t find a real job during law school. After all, who in their right mind takes on mountains of NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt – for the “privilege” of representing ungrateful, broke-ass clients?!?!
Michael Risch, law school pig at Villanova, posted a Faculty Lounge entry labeled “Law School Clinics and Employment.” Review the following portion:
“The results of this study aren't terribly surprising to me. I'm not a clinic hater - indeed, I started and ran one myself. But I've long believed that hiring is based on market conditions and little else. Thus, I've never really understood the strong push for increased clinical education in the name of increase employment at a time when law schools must cut budgets, given that good clinics are expensive. Of course, increasing clinical education because it leads to better learning outcomes may make the investment worthwhile.
I suppose, then, I should not have been surprised to see my own law school's view of experiential learning front and center in this paper: we've ramped up our efforts, opening two new clinics, expanded externship opportunities, and created week-long modules targeted at real-world learning. Why? Because our students asked for it, our employers asked for it, and we think it will help our students be better lawyers earlier (even if I'm skeptical about being ready on day one).
Nonetheless, this may be an area where stated preferences differ from revealed preferences. Are our employment outcomes better? Yes. Are they better enough? Not until everyone gets a job -- but no number of clinics will get that done. Market conditions and prestige are the key drivers, and this paper finds as much.” [Emphasis mine]
Can you even picture these bitches and hags working in private law firms? They would be required to be productive – and publishing articles that point out the obvious does not fall under that category. At least, this “educator” is honest about market conditions and prestige, i.e. decent law firms don’t want to hire idiots who went to low-ranked toilets. So what the hell is the point of attending such a cesspool and taking part in these clinics?!?!
Conclusion: In the final analysis, the law school cockroaches have been using these programs so they can chirp about making students “practice ready.” The MAIN problem is that there are not enough damn legal job openings for the numbers of law grads each year! Anyone with a brain stem and a shred of honesty has realized this for years. For the dense, building more horse-drawn carriages is not going to magically lead to an increase in demand for such a product. If you are still considering law school at this point, then you are a pathetic fool.
Posted by Nando at 12:26 AM