Sunday, March 15, 2015
Emory Law Prof Talks About the Law School Death Spiral
Excellent Breakdown: On March 9, 2015, the Washington Post published a piece from Dorothy A. Brown, under the headline “Law schools are in a death spiral. Maybe now they’ll finally change.” Check out the following portion:
“No law school has figured out how to handle the new normal of legal education: the lowest number of applicants in four decades; fewer legal jobs for graduates, and, according to Moody’s, “no relief in sight.”
While some argue that going to law school is still a safe bet, little evidence exists to support this position. The most elite law schools — the top 1 percent — will thrive. The other 99 percent: not so much.
Law schools are currently in a bidding war for the students with the highest LSATs and GPAs because U.S. News heavily emphasizes those factors in its rankings. Students with higher LSATs tend to have a higher socioeconomic status; poorer law students lose out on scholarships and end up paying full tuition, financed through student loans, subsidizing their richer classmates. And law schools are still struggling to break even. Most JD programs are hoping their central administrators will remember a not-too-distant past when law schools subsidized the greater university.
At the same time, the legal profession has had a seismic shift in the way it does business. Employers have downsized and outsourced work, and used technology to cut salary costs — computer programs can search through volumes of documents, eliminating the need to pay a lawyer to do it. Partner profits at elite law firms are at record highs; firms are getting by with less, and they’ve figured out how to make a lot more money doing so. Newly minted graduates face dwindling job prospects.” [Emphasis mine]
You can't fool prospective students about the job outlook forever. What’s sickening is how these academic thieves are lamenting the loss of students and applicants, i.e. federal $tudent loan dollar$. They don’t even pretend to give a damn about their graduates drowning in debt, while not being able to secure decent employment. What beacons of integrity, huh?!?!
Now, read Brown’s conclusion:
“Questioning the value of legal scholarship is heresy inside the legal academy – which is why I am grateful that I have tenure. Law schools are run by the faculty for the faculty. A former colleague once put it like this: “If we could run this law school without students, this place would be perfect.” He happened to be the dean. Such a system is unlikely to be changed from within.
But while faculty cannot be terminated, their summer research stipends can be. Other disciplines require faculty to obtain external funding to support their work. Law schools should take a similar approach. For all who argue that legal scholarship has merit, let the market decide. This won’t solve all of a law school’s financial woes, but it could be a place to start right now. My 20 years as a legal academic causes me to predict that no serious change will occur until a cataclysmic event occurs. My prediction: In three years, a top law school will close. Then watch how quickly things change.” [Emphasis mine]
Other Coverage: On March 10, 2015, Minding the Campus posted an essay from Political “Science” professor Peter Augustine Lawler, which was labeled “The Withering Away of Law Schools.” Look at his conclusion:
Good news: The law school admission process ain’t scary any more. The loans that constrain choice after graduation no longer need be all that huge. The bad news: For most grads there won’t be any lucrative and secure options.
Bottom lines: Lots of low-ranked law schools are going to close and even the good ones will have to become much more sensitive to the real needs of consumers. The working conditions for law professors everywhere gets worse. The market will, in this case, quickly and effectively sort things out, because the “home institutions” of most law schools won’t do all that much to subsidize them for very long. Those institutions have tolerated the self-indulgent quirkiness of law schools mainly because they’ve been cash cows. No longer.
The “liberal arts”–beginning with the political science major–take another hit, although it will still remain the case that the best route to political leadership will be the one followed by both Obama and Romney. It’s easy to advise undergraduate majors in political science to choose cheaper (often comped) technical programs leading to an MBA, MPA, MPH, and so forth. The better programs offering such degrees sometimes have solid placement records, and they are certainly better for many students. But there’s no denying they lack the breadth and access to the opportunities associated with political life.
At this point, it is probably no more risky to pursue even a Ph.D in political philosophy or “regular philosophy” or history or whatever. Typically talented and accomplished students have to borrow little to nothing–at least if they don’t have a family and are very frugal–to flourish in said programs. The career prospects in a world where liberal education is disappearing, tenure has no future, political correctness and techno-vocationalism are crowding out everything else, might not be all that much worse than that for most law students today. That is, pretty bleepin’ bad.” [Emphasis mine]
At what point will McDonald’s and Burger King become more selective, regarding their customers, than the law school pigs? The author at least understands that parent univer$itie$ and college$ will not continue to shell out cash to support their law schools/diploma mills. Also, I would not recommend the PhD route to anyone who is not from a wealthy family.
Conclusion: When these blogs first starting documenting the law school scam, who would have predicted that the numbers of applicants would sink so rapidly? Now, several years later, we have a tenured “law professor” writing in the Washington Post about how the commodes are desperate for students. That is definite progress. However, let’s not celebrate until after a few more ABA-accredited toilets are permanently flushed. Perhaps, one higher ranked school might close, if the central university administration - or board of tru$tee$ - decides that "prestige" is not worth the cost to them. Remember, "higher education" in the U.S. is ALL about the money!
Posted by Nando at 5:37 AM