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Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, January 27, 2011

ABA Journal: Disgruntled Law Grad Bloggers Say 'Bag Law School'

ABA Journal ABA Journal, Law School? Bag It, Bloggers Say; More Disgruntled Grads Are 'Scamblogging' Their Job Frustrations:

If you peruse the Internet, you can practically hear their cries -- the plaintive voices of unemployed law school graduates. The Jobless Juris Doctor gripes, "Keep my diploma in the bathroom in case I run out of toilet paper." And in a post: "In case anyone was wondering, the job market still sucks."

And Scammed Hard oozes bitterly, beyond sarcasm: "So here's to all of the lies, nonsense and hogwash that will delude and mislead the next crop of 45,000 law students who will be matriculating this fall."

It's becoming a mini-epidemic: Disgruntled recent law school graduates or current students complaining, sometimes with venom, on so-called scamblogs.

ABA Journal Podcast, Are Scambloggers Right About Law School?:

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I'm glad this is finally getting coverage, but the types of solutions proposed in the ABA article, indeed the entire framing of the problem, is inadequate. The issue as cast by ABA is one of transparency--as if announcing 'buyer beware' to prospective lawyers were the only intervention needed.

The much more pressing issue is the over supply of new attorneys given the labor market demand for them. The American Medical Association has long understood that medical salaries are directly related to the number of doctors on the market, and so they have restricted the number of medical schools. The ABA has done no such thing to protect it's own profession.

What the legal industry needs is not just greater transparency at law schools, but fewer law schools altogether. It's harsh, but if the ABA wants to address this erupting problem, they need to shut down some of the lowest performing schools.

Posted by: JBF | Jan 27, 2011 12:50:50 PM

JBF - I generally agree with you but every year the number of residency spots exceeds the number of graduating American medical students requiring residencies to regularly accept foreign medical graduates. No one opens a new med school because it's expensive. Law schools are cheap and easy.

Posted by: justme | Jan 28, 2011 7:39:30 AM

There's a lot of this that just doesn't make sense:

1. You don't have to spend six figures to get a legal education.

2. If you are going into debt for six figures in the hopes of landing a BigLaw job right out of school to financially justify the investment, you're not planning your life so much as engaging in high-stakes gambling. It's the same as if someone with a Master of Fine Arts feeling ripped off because his or her first job wasn't starring in a big-budget movie. The expectations for what comes after law school can't be measured only by where you get your first job.

3. The AMA is restricting the number of medical schools to preserve their salaries? Really? Because the country is better off denying capable medical professional candidates? If this is really happening, then that's the opposite of what should happen in the legal profession.

4. Closing out the lower-tier schools from accreditation will only put a larger false premium on the rest of the schools. If you really want the law schools to prove their worth to students in getting a job, the schools should be exposed to more competition. If the primary value of law school is to get a degree to get you a seat for the bar exam, why not push for states to require only an undergrad degree and allow for a non-JD route to a law degree? It would make the law schools justify their worth (especially those expensive ones that inspire so much bitterness from former students), and it would mitigate the loss if a prospective lawyer finds out he or she isn't cut out for the profession.

It's not that far-fetched. There's the libertarian position that lawyers shouldn't have to be required to have a license at all, but that's another issue.

Posted by: Dan | Jan 28, 2011 2:56:16 PM