Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Joshua Plager (J.D. 2013, Miami), Trim, Plan, Law School: We Have a Situation (Now Let's Fix it), 67 U. Miami L. Rev. ___ (2012):
This paper analyzes the current class action lawsuits against law schools on grounds of misrepresented statistics (schools' self-reported job employment rates, salary data, etc.). It argues that these suits are merely the incidental tip of an oncoming iceberg related to our legal economy, and that drastic action must be taken to prevent our legal education system from facing massive, possibly unintended, market corrections. It addresses why students choose to attend law school in the first place. It analyzes labor market economics and the state of the current legal economy, and urges that both the ABA and American Law Schools must adapt to a new, still-unfolding reality that is our new legal economy.
It provides suggestions for changes to law schools and how they are marketed to potential students. It analyzes a quasi "pre-admission program" at one Florida law school [Nova] that may, in fact, violate the ABA Standards for Accreditation of Law Schools. The paper suggests that, while certainly we face a desperate struggle, the system is not broken; but that we must act proactively to maintain both the quality of our legal education system and the value of the juris doctor. Indeed, we have a situation: Now let's fix it.
Here is the Conclusion:
So here we are. Given the uncertain future lurking ahead of our legal economy and our legal education system, do I wish I could retract my decision to enter law school? Chronically fatigued and saddled with massive debt, my answer remains a resounding “No.” Though currently I may possess few practical skills, and my net worth may rival my three-digit LSAT score, law school was, and is, the right decision for me: I want only to become an attorney. Like Holden Caulfield, “I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be. I know it’s crazy.” That said, there exists an enormous and still-unfolding problem in American law schools with—in Mr. Caulfield’s words— phoniness. Holden yearned to “stand on the edge of some crazy cliff” and “catch everybody if they start[ed] to go over— . . . if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going [he] [had] to come out from somewhere and catch them.” It appears now that it is we—the country’s current and future law students—who need to be caught.