Friday, March 8, 2013

Law Professor Letter to ABA

I cannot resist the first snarky comment:  somebody might want to have proofread the header on this letter before sending it out.

Apart from that, I am struck that the signatories on this letter by and large are from schools that are fairly insulated from the economic struggles facing law schools.  Perhaps that is good; they are able to see things clearly while the rest of us hide our heads in the sand.

Beyond that, the letter does nothing but to add a long but distinguished list of names (anybody recall the early bar scene from Top Gun?) to a discussion that has been repeated many times over in the past year or two.


  1. Worse yet, it conflates three quite distinct discussions and adds nothing any of them: (1) what can be done to improve the quality/relevance of legal education; (2) how do we ensure equal access to legal education; and (3) how are we going to finance the academy?

    Problems 2 and 3 are related, and go to the question of how we finance legal education. Should it be financed through a regime of federally guaranteed (but nondischargeable) debt (coupled with merit based grants), or should it be financed with need based grants and a major reduction in merit grants.

    To me it seems the answer is clear. Need based grants increase the number of people who can go to law school. Merit based grants set off a financial arms race in what is essentially a zero sum game. Need based grants are win/win. Merit based grants are lose/lose . . .

  2. With the rankings just now out, the letter's point (again, not new) about the problems of US News' influence are hitting home. We got fairly hammered this year, but nothing like many other, very good, schools. If everybody agrees that the rankings warp the market in which we operate, why is there not a joint statement to that effect on which everybody can agree? "The rankings published by U.S. News are more likely to confuse than to clarify the choice of which school to attend." If the law deans of a critical mass of schools signed such a letter, the major news outlets would pick it up.