TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, April 17, 2014

National Law Journal: Is Now the Ideal Time to Enroll in Law School?

Following up on yesterday's post:  National Law Journal, Theory: The Time Was Never Better to Enroll in Law School:

Is now the ideal time to enroll in law school? Steven Freedman, assistant dean for admissions at the University of Kansas School of Law, has been making the counterintuitive case that it is. In a series of posts on the law professor blog The Faculty Lounge, he argues that the relatively small number of people set to graduate with J.D.s in 2017 will mean better job prospects for those who do. In short, the supply of new lawyers will be much more closely aligned with the demand for their services than for the Class of 2013. ... “Enroll today or you will miss out on what might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Freedman wrote on April 10. “Namely, the chance to graduate from law school in 2017-2018, which will likely be one of the best times ever to graduate from law school.” ...

Freedman is not the first to float this idea. University of Washington School of Law professor Ryan Calo made a similar argument in Forbes in November. And Theodore Seto, a professor at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, wrote a [TaxProf] blog post in June suggesting demand for legal services would grow along with the U.S. population. “...

Still, Freedman clearly struck a nerve with readers of The Faculty Lounge, many of whom disputed his findings in the comments section.  ...

Count Brian Tamanaha, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law and author of the book Failing Law Schools, among the critics. “If significant numbers of people take your advice and ‘enroll today’ (thinking three years hence the oversupply of law grads will be eliminated by falling enrollment), then the job outlook will worsen as a consequence because the oversupply will not go down as much,” Tamanaha argued on the website. “So your prediction will bear out only if most people thinking about law school do not take your advice.”

Legal Education | Permalink


As was noted on Faculty Lounge, the choice of photo and headline make it look as though Tamanaha is the one arguing that now is a good time to attend. No offense to Prof. Freedman, but that would be bigger news.

Posted by: Former Editor | Apr 17, 2014 1:46:52 PM

Freedman seems to be assuming that all the folks who have graduated in the last five years and have become baristas will not be competing for jobs with the 2017-ers. There is an extent to which that's true, but it's not 100 per cent. Some large number of the 2017 jobs will go to people who graduated in 2012, 13, 14... So I still don't see why starting law school now is a good idea.

Posted by: Dave Schutz | Apr 18, 2014 5:37:37 PM