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(CNN)   Dean admits law school has "major flaws". Like the fact they produce lawyers   (management.fortune.cnn.com) divider line 70
    More: Interesting, University School, tenderloin, Howard University, historically black colleges, University of California, Gallaudet University, good old boys, UC Hastings  
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3984 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 Dec 2013 at 7:05 PM (31 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-12-17 05:12:46 PM
Man, now THAT is a hilarious and clever headline. I'm bowled over by it.
 
2013-12-17 05:15:01 PM
What he is doing needs to happen across the board at all law schools and the ABA should look at yanking the accreditation of some of the bottom tier schools.
 
2013-12-17 05:17:24 PM

Nabb1: What he is doing needs to happen across the board at all law schools and the ABA should look at yanking the accreditation of some of the bottom tier schools.


I don't really agree with this. If there's a market for legal education, people should be allowed to fill it. I don't see why its any of our business to tell someone else they can't be a lawyer. As long as they pass the bar, let them be.
 
2013-12-17 05:20:29 PM
D'oh!
 
2013-12-17 05:21:01 PM

DamnYankees: Nabb1: What he is doing needs to happen across the board at all law schools and the ABA should look at yanking the accreditation of some of the bottom tier schools.

I don't really agree with this. If there's a market for legal education, people should be allowed to fill it. I don't see why its any of our business to tell someone else they can't be a lawyer. As long as they pass the bar, let them be.


The glut of law graduates with no prospects and huge debts is a disservice to them and to the profession.
 
2013-12-17 05:21:59 PM
God, nothing but lawyers in here, now. I've been in CLE all day and now this?!?,
 
2013-12-17 05:22:53 PM
Fix the third year and you'll fix law schools.
 
2013-12-17 05:23:35 PM

Nabb1: The glut of law graduates with no prospects and huge debts is a disservice to them and to the profession.


Sure, but I'm not sure why it requires some sort of top-down intervention. Let the market figure it out.
 
2013-12-17 05:25:39 PM

DamnYankees: Nabb1: The glut of law graduates with no prospects and huge debts is a disservice to them and to the profession.

Sure, but I'm not sure why it requires some sort of top-down intervention. Let the market figure it out.


We are the market. We already set barriers to market entry with bar exams and licensing, for the good of the public and the justice system.
 
2013-12-17 05:28:13 PM

Nabb1: We are the market. We already set barriers to market entry with bar exams and licensing, for the good of the public and the justice system.


And I think I'm ok with that, but if you can pass the bar, I don't see any reason to prevent you from practicing law.

I'm generally very wary of self-regulating industries (or, even worse, actually regulated industries) where the case for protection is anything less than literal health and safety. It's way, way too prone to industry capture and imposition of high barriers to entry for the sake of reducing competition. If there are lots of people who are terrible lawyers, so be it. There are also lots of terrible restaurants and barbers and accountants. That's how it works.
 
2013-12-17 05:37:52 PM

DamnYankees: Nabb1: We are the market. We already set barriers to market entry with bar exams and licensing, for the good of the public and the justice system.

And I think I'm ok with that, but if you can pass the bar, I don't see any reason to prevent you from practicing law.

I'm generally very wary of self-regulating industries (or, even worse, actually regulated industries) where the case for protection is anything less than literal health and safety. It's way, way too prone to industry capture and imposition of high barriers to entry for the sake of reducing competition. If there are lots of people who are terrible lawyers, so be it. There are also lots of terrible restaurants and barbers and accountants. That's how it works.


If a barber screws up, you're not likely to lose millions of dollars or spend your life in prison. Also, CPAs have to be licensed.
 
2013-12-17 05:41:51 PM

Nabb1: If a barber screws up, you're not likely to lose millions of dollars or spend your life in prison. Also, CPAs have to be licensed.


Well, a barber can cause serious medical damage.

But anyways, the larger point is that there's all sorts of professions where if someone farks up badly enough it will have a catastrophic impact. I thin lawyers tend to be pretty self-important when it comes to their own capacity for making a difference. I'm an M&A lawyer and I can tell you that any mistake I make can certainly also be made by any of the many business people working for my clients, and they don't need any licenses at all to do what they do. There's no difference there.

Now, there's a very valid issue with giving shiatty-ass lawyers to people who can't afford attorneys and them getting farked over. But to me, that's less an issue of competent lawyers, and more an issue of how much money we give public defenders and their related offices; if they don't have the capacity to hire and retain good people, getting rid of law schools isn't going to help that.
 
2013-12-17 05:42:53 PM
BTW, I don't necessarily disagree with you. But there are some pretty awful law schools out there who take people who probably shouldn't be going to law school. If law schools would scale back admissions on their own, I would applaud it. If not, then I just tell kids I know not to even think of going unless they just have their heart set on being a lawyer and join a profession that has twice the suicide rate of the general population.
 
2013-12-17 05:43:58 PM

DamnYankees: Nabb1: If a barber screws up, you're not likely to lose millions of dollars or spend your life in prison. Also, CPAs have to be licensed.

Well, a barber can cause serious medical damage.

But anyways, the larger point is that there's all sorts of professions where if someone farks up badly enough it will have a catastrophic impact. I thin lawyers tend to be pretty self-important when it comes to their own capacity for making a difference. I'm an M&A lawyer and I can tell you that any mistake I make can certainly also be made by any of the many business people working for my clients, and they don't need any licenses at all to do what they do. There's no difference there.

Now, there's a very valid issue with giving shiatty-ass lawyers to people who can't afford attorneys and them getting farked over. But to me, that's less an issue of competent lawyers, and more an issue of how much money we give public defenders and their related offices; if they don't have the capacity to hire and retain good people, getting rid of law schools isn't going to help that.


I agree with that, too.
 
2013-12-17 05:44:16 PM

Nabb1: If law schools would scale back admissions on their own, I would applaud it.


I agree with you on this. Nothing wrong with a law school setting high standards for itself.

Nabb1: If not, then I just tell kids I know not to even think of going unless they just have their heart set on being a lawyer and join a profession that has twice the suicide rate of the general population.


Fair enough, and I would say the same thing - only go to law school if you truly love it, or if you get into a top 10 school.
 
2013-12-17 05:57:51 PM

DamnYankees: Nabb1: The glut of law graduates with no prospects and huge debts is a disservice to them and to the profession.

Sure, but I'm not sure why it requires some sort of top-down intervention. Let the market figure it out.


The problem is the market is so corrupted it will take a top-down intervention to correct it.
 
2013-12-17 05:59:30 PM

sprgrss: The problem is the market is so corrupted it will take a top-down intervention to correct it.


In what way is the legal market corrupted?
 
2013-12-17 06:10:31 PM

DamnYankees: sprgrss: The problem is the market is so corrupted it will take a top-down intervention to correct it.

In what way is the legal market corrupted?


Bogus statistics, the ABA forsaking its duty, etc. etc. etc. etc.  And that's just talking about the educational system.
 
2013-12-17 06:13:12 PM

Nabb1: What he is doing needs to happen across the board at all law schools and the ABA should look at yanking the accreditation of some of the bottom tier schools.


because the world needs more expensive lawyers?
MEH

We need the bottom dwellers for traffic court and parking tickets ...
 
2013-12-17 06:18:13 PM

namatad: Nabb1: What he is doing needs to happen across the board at all law schools and the ABA should look at yanking the accreditation of some of the bottom tier schools.

because the world needs more expensive lawyers?
MEH

We need the bottom dwellers for traffic court and parking tickets ...


At least where I live, the people who do high felonies also do DWIs and traffic tickets.
 
2013-12-17 06:59:50 PM
I don't care how expensive your school was. A law degree requires memorizing a lot of cases, learning how to bullshiat and selling your soul, which you probably didn't have to begin with.
 
2013-12-17 07:20:49 PM
Oh goody. Am I late to the "all lawyers are evil" thread? I really love learning about how lawyers are the root of all evil. After all, no lawyer has ever done anything good, like argue against segregation in Brown v. Board of Ed, or represent the ACLU in keeping Church and State separate... nope, all bottom dwellers.
 
2013-12-17 07:23:34 PM
When any given construct, professional or academic, is subverted into one more pry bar that used use to shift ~n amount of capital from A to B - the metrics and ostensible purpose of the profession notwithstanding - it has left the ranks of the Professional Guild® and joined the ranks of hooery.  See post 1980 America.  It's not that that we have too many lawyers.  It's that we have too many disingenuous, un-constructive and vindictive things for them to do.
 
2013-12-17 07:25:07 PM

Koalaesq: Oh goody. Am I late to the "all lawyers are evil" thread? I really love learning about how lawyers are the root of all evil. After all, no lawyer has ever done anything good, like argue against segregation in Brown v. Board of Ed, or represent the ACLU in keeping Church and State separate... nope, all bottom dwellers.


Talk to Willy Shakes.  He wanted all your asses farming daises.  We just want you to stop sh*tting where we eat.
 
2013-12-17 07:30:02 PM

DamnYankees: sprgrss: The problem is the market is so corrupted it will take a top-down intervention to correct it.

In what way is the legal market corrupted?


The fact that it's a market?
 
2013-12-17 07:32:31 PM

sprgrss: namatad: Nabb1: What he is doing needs to happen across the board at all law schools and the ABA should look at yanking the accreditation of some of the bottom tier schools.

because the world needs more expensive lawyers?
MEH

We need the bottom dwellers for traffic court and parking tickets ...

At least where I live, the people who do high felonies also do DWIs and traffic tickets.


i say the bar should have a second phase, a hunger games syyle test we send in 50 and one comes out.
 
2013-12-17 07:33:35 PM
The problem with bottom tier law schools is that they're not even graduating bottom tier lawyers.  They're mostly graduating large numbers of unemployable people with $100-200k of publicly subsidized debt that will ruin the students' lives for 25 years before the balance is dumped on the taxpayer.

Considering the massive glut of law degrees being generated each year vs. the number of jobs available, it's reasonable to deny low-performing ones access to the subsidies (i.e., shut them down).
 
2013-12-17 07:35:34 PM
You have to be a sociopath to be a successful trial lawyer.
 
2013-12-17 07:36:53 PM
I went to a bottom tier law school because the price was right. My GI Bill covered 100% of the costs of tuition. I could have gone to the higher ranked nearby school, but I figured having no debt was more important than having a fancier name on my diploma. Especially when I didn't plan on leaving my immediate area to practice. Within the last month I've started my first legal job with a Prosecutor's office where I don't make a lot of money, but it doesn't matter because I have no debt and My position allows me to have a positive impact on my community (I remove abused and neglected children from the homes of unfit parents). I might not have been able to focus on a career in public service had I gone to higher ranked school and graduates with $50k to $100k worth of debt. I think I made the right decision.
 
2013-12-17 07:37:39 PM
so flaw school?
 
2013-12-17 07:38:20 PM

DamnYankees: Nabb1: If a barber screws up, you're not likely to lose millions of dollars or spend your life in prison. Also, CPAs have to be licensed.

Well, a barber can cause serious medical damage.

But anyways, the larger point is that there's all sorts of professions where if someone farks up badly enough it will have a catastrophic impact. I thin lawyers tend to be pretty self-important when it comes to their own capacity for making a difference. I'm an M&A lawyer and I can tell you that any mistake I make can certainly also be made by any of the many business people working for my clients, and they don't need any licenses at all to do what they do. There's no difference there.

Now, there's a very valid issue with giving shiatty-ass lawyers to people who can't afford attorneys and them getting farked over. But to me, that's less an issue of competent lawyers, and more an issue of how much money we give public defenders and their related offices; if they don't have the capacity to hire and retain good people, getting rid of law schools isn't going to help that.


Interesting philosophy... but I have to disagree. I think that our system places a high value on allowing litigants "one bite at the apple", and therefore that *one chance* the plaintiff has to recoup money or property- or at least garner a sense of justice- has to be taken very seriously. I don't think you really find that kind of finality in many types of other professions (medical of course being a big exception). I think that finality does give it a sense of importance and gravitas you don't find in many other professions. Maybe I just can't think of any... suggestions?
 
2013-12-17 07:41:09 PM

Ivandrago: I went to a bottom tier law school because the price was right. My GI Bill covered 100% of the costs of tuition. I could have gone to the higher ranked nearby school, but I figured having no debt was more important than having a fancier name on my diploma. Especially when I didn't plan on leaving my immediate area to practice. Within the last month I've started my first legal job with a Prosecutor's office where I don't make a lot of money, but it doesn't matter because I have no debt and My position allows me to have a positive impact on my community (I remove abused and neglected children from the homes of unfit parents). I might not have been able to focus on a career in public service had I gone to higher ranked school and graduates with $50k to $100k worth of debt. I think I made the right decision.


Good on you. I wanted to be a prosecutor out of law school, but the chips didn't fall that way, and I ended up doing a lot of legal aid (until the program was gutted). I know lots of attorneys who went to "eh" law schools but knew their stuff and made a hell of a living in practice. It's really about what you make with the education you have, you know?
 
2013-12-17 07:41:31 PM
sigh

I would have been a good ambulance chaser
 
2013-12-17 07:41:31 PM

DamnYankees: sprgrss: The problem is the market is so corrupted it will take a top-down intervention to correct it.

In what way is the legal market corrupted?


It's full of lawyers.
 
2013-12-17 07:41:33 PM

TurboCojones: You have to be a sociopath to be a successful trial lawyer.


Do you also need to be a sociopath to be an actor?  Is everyone who can play devil's advocate a sociopath?  When you were in school, did you never have an exam that said "argue both sides," or were you just unable to do it?  Hell, all that assumes you don't genuinely believe the side you're taking.  Often you genuinely side with your client.
 
2013-12-17 07:41:35 PM
Watch a high profile murder case like OJ, Casey Anthony, and George Zimmerman. Each side tries their hardest to eliminate any potential juror that might have a perceived bias against their argument. Sometimes the perceived bias manifests as a productive and/or educated person with the ability to form reasonable thought and influence others accordingly. But usually the perceived bias manifests as ethnicity and gender. The verdict likely rests in the ability to emotionally persuade a group of feeble-minded, racist, emotion-driven idiots who couldn't get out of jury duty. If this is untrue, then why is selection so critical and hotly contested?
 
2013-12-17 07:41:50 PM

sprgrss: Fix the third year and you'll fix law schools.


No. Nothing wrong with getting rid of 3L, but it wouldn't make TJSL any better a value proposition. The value of their degree is still negative, since you'll never be employed as a lawyer but you will be shut out of jobs you could have gotten before law school that see a JD as overqualified. It would make students at some other law schools less screwed but still would be mostly shuffling deckchairs.

And "reforming" 3L is just legal academia mumbo-jumbo for pretending to do something about the crisis while continuing to rake in the tuition dollars.

The only solution is to revoke accreditation from at least 50 or so law schools, especially the worst offenders such Cooley, TJSL, Golden Gate, Ave Maria, NYLS, etc., and force the other schools to cut their class sizes. An ABA cap on annual tuition increases would be helpful, too.
 
2013-12-17 07:45:05 PM

Koalaesq: Interesting philosophy... but I have to disagree. I think that our system places a high value on allowing litigants "one bite at the apple", and therefore that *one chance* the plaintiff has to recoup money or property- or at least garner a sense of justice- has to be taken very seriously. I don't think you really find that kind of finality in many types of other professions (medical of course being a big exception). I think that finality does give it a sense of importance and gravitas you don't find in many other professions. Maybe I just can't think of any... suggestions?


Well, first of all, most law is not litigation. I've never been in a courtroom in my career, other than when I was sworn in. Neither has pretty much anyone I work with. So the one bite at the apple thing doesn't even apply to the work most lawyers do.

Secondly, I'm not sure what the principle is here. If X is an action you only get one chance to do, then the people helping you must be licensed and regulated? Seems like an odd standard.
 
2013-12-17 07:47:27 PM
Hell, I'm just glad it's a dean at a good law school.  I went to a top 20 law school, was an Editor on the Law Review, passed a pretty difficult bar on my first try.  All I can find is part time work for 20 an hour.   Which is awesome given my $106,000 of student debt (at between 6.8 and 7.9% interest!) which I couldn't even get rid of if I declared bankruptcy.   I'm  really enjoying all the firms and older lawyers that feel the necessity to mentor and employ young lawyers for the good of the profession and putting the bottom line of the firm 2nd (so if you know one in California, let me know, cause I've found as many of these as I have unicorns).
 
2013-12-17 07:48:40 PM

Last Man on Earth: TurboCojones: You have to be a sociopath to be a successful trial lawyer.

Do you also need to be a sociopath to be an actor?  Is everyone who can play devil's advocate a sociopath?  When you were in school, did you never have an exam that said "argue both sides," or were you just unable to do it?  Hell, all that assumes you don't genuinely believe the side you're taking.  Often you genuinely side with your client.


Lying for personal gain without concern for the consequences is what a  trial lawyer sociopath does.
 
2013-12-17 07:50:20 PM

Verrai: sprgrss: Fix the third year and you'll fix law schools.

No. Nothing wrong with getting rid of 3L, but it wouldn't make TJSL any better a value proposition. The value of their degree is still negative, since you'll never be employed as a lawyer but you will be shut out of jobs you could have gotten before law school that see a JD as overqualified. It would make students at some other law schools less screwed but still would be mostly shuffling deckchairs.


So much this.  The very few interviews I've had ask why I want to switch careers.  They understand more when I tell them I'll make approximately 12,000 this year.
 
2013-12-17 07:51:44 PM

Nabb1: DamnYankees: Nabb1: What he is doing needs to happen across the board at all law schools and the ABA should look at yanking the accreditation of some of the bottom tier schools.

I don't really agree with this. If there's a market for legal education, people should be allowed to fill it. I don't see why its any of our business to tell someone else they can't be a lawyer. As long as they pass the bar, let them be.

The glut of law graduates with no prospects and huge debts is a disservice to them and to the profession.


Let the free market handle it.  If there are too many graduates, then it will become less attractive and enrollment will drop.
 
2013-12-17 07:52:50 PM
I have been acquainted with one actual brilliant attorney in my life.  His specialty was contract, corporate and estate law.  He was a very successful and unaffected man.  Criminal trial law leaves a stain upon a man, apparently.  And it reeks of hubris,  desperation and invoices due.
 
2013-12-17 07:54:30 PM

TurboCojones: Last Man on Earth: TurboCojones: You have to be a sociopath to be a successful trial lawyer.

Do you also need to be a sociopath to be an actor?  Is everyone who can play devil's advocate a sociopath?  When you were in school, did you never have an exam that said "argue both sides," or were you just unable to do it?  Hell, all that assumes you don't genuinely believe the side you're taking.  Often you genuinely side with your client.

Lying for personal gain without concern for the consequences is what a  trial lawyer sociopath does.


so what you're saying is selective hearing isn't lying.
 
2013-12-17 07:58:14 PM

Nabb1: God, nothing but lawyers in here, now. I've been in CLE all day and now this?!?,


Which bar section has the best CLEs?
I have an uncle who's a lawyer, and he sometimes tells stories of their festivities after the program is over.
I suspect that tax lawyers aren't known for their lively parties.
 
2013-12-17 08:00:18 PM

sprgrss: Fix the third year and you'll fix law schools.


My proposal:

Year 1: teach basic civil procedure, legal research and writing. Anyone who successfully completes the year gets an accreditation kind of like a paralegal/legal assistant thing.

Year 2: teach wills, torts, property, contracts, and some specialty areas (bankruptcy, IP, environmental, etc.). Skills that will let a person do basic transactional work or simple litigation. Anyone who successfully completes this year gets an accreditation similar to that of solicitors in European systems.

Year 3: teach rules of evidence, litigation skills, constitutional law, etc. Toughen up the standards considerably. Completion of this term amounts to an accreditation of barrister-level status.

People get to pick the level of schooling they want, based on what they want to do with their skills. I suspect half the people in law school now would be content with just doing Years 1 or 2, and then going to do transactional or in-house kinds of practice anyway. Few litigators, and tougher standards to become one.
 
2013-12-17 08:02:32 PM

Schmegicky: I've been in CLE all day


Go see a good bar band, eat quesadillas and piss the night away bouncing around on the dance floor like a spaz.  Best advice.
 
2013-12-17 08:10:52 PM
Not only are our law graduates gonna learn how to win cases in New Hampshire ... we're going to win in South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we're already in California but onto Texas and New York! And we're going to win cases in South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan. And then we're going to Washington, D.C. to take back the White House, Yeeeeeaaaaaargh!
 
2013-12-17 08:15:13 PM

DamnYankees: Nabb1: We are the market. We already set barriers to market entry with bar exams and licensing, for the good of the public and the justice system.

And I think I'm ok with that, but if you can pass the bar, I don't see any reason to prevent you from practicing law.

I'm generally very wary of self-regulating industries (or, even worse, actually regulated industries) where the case for protection is anything less than literal health and safety. It's way, way too prone to industry capture and imposition of high barriers to entry for the sake of reducing competition. If there are lots of people who are terrible lawyers, so be it. There are also lots of terrible restaurants and barbers and accountants. That's how it works.


A poor barber will mess up your hair. A poor lawyer who screws up could theoretically get you the death sentence.
 
2013-12-17 08:21:22 PM

limeyfellow: A poor barber will mess up your hair. A poor lawyer who screws up could theoretically get you the death sentence.


The amount of lawyers who are capital crime litigators is a vanishingly small percentage of the total amount of lawyers in the country.
 
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