TaxProf Blog

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

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

AALS President:  'I Don’t See Legal Education As Being In Crisis At All'

AALS (2017)National Law Journal, As Law Professors Convene, New Leader Looks to Unite Profession:

The nation’s largest gathering of law professors kicks off Jan. 6 in New York with the Association of American Law School’s 110th Annual Meeting. About 3,000 legal educators will convene for a five-day program with more than 200 sessions.

The National Law Journal spoke with incoming AALS President Kellye Testy, dean of the University of Washington School of Law, about the challenges law schools face and her goals for the coming year. Testy, whose research and teaching focuses on business law and equality issues, takes over the AALS helm from outgoing president Blake Morant, the dean at George Washington University Law School. ...

NLJ: It seems that the phrase “law school crisis” has died down a bit, yet enrollments and bar passage rates are still declining. Do you think legal education is still in crisis mode?

KT: I don’t see legal education as being in crisis at all. What I do see is that there are a lot of crisis in our world that legal education can help address. That’s part of why I’m trying to help our academy look outward and talk about the great things our schools and our profession do around what I think of as real crisis: things like incredible inequality and poverty, and violence around our world.

I think there is a steadying out now after quite a crash in the number of students our schools are admitting, but I really see a lot of people now with their feet under them and looking outward for the difference we can make in our world.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/01/aals-presidenti-dont-see-legal-education-as-being-in-crisis-at-all.html

Legal Education | Permalink

Comments

Doesn't get much more trite than that, does it?

Posted by: pmk | Jan 6, 2016 10:08:31 AM

Dean Testy apparently wants everyone to be self-sacrificing except for herself.

Posted by: JM | Jan 6, 2016 12:07:26 PM

I think it helps put the so-called law school "crisis" in perspective when compared to "things like incredible inequality and poverty, and violence around our world."

We have a few law graduates making $50,000 per year to start, who will eventually make $100K+, and who are complaining about not making $200,000 per year. Meanwhile most of the world survives on less than $10,000 per year for a 3 person household.

But the whining of the fortunate is apparently more newsworthy than greater suffering.

Posted by: Dougie | Jan 6, 2016 12:11:40 PM

It is nonsense like this that just when I want to give the majority of faculty at the majority of law schools the benefit of the doubt that they will self-regulate change, that I'm drawn again toward thinking that the whole lot of you are engaged in a corrupt scam.

My word, this is unbelievable. At least confess to a problem with some platitudes about what's been done and what will be done. "There is no problem" is tone deaf.

Posted by: Jojo | Jan 6, 2016 12:36:15 PM

@ Dougie,

Here is the wealth hierarchy of all actors that you mentioned in your post:

1. Law Deans (~top 1%)
2. Average third world inhabitant (net worth ~$1,000)
3. Average recent third tier law school graduate (net worth ~ (-)$200,000

The third tier law grad will never practice in law (as you condescendingly assume) and will live out his/her entire life in debt.

Posted by: JM | Jan 6, 2016 1:21:03 PM

@Dougie,

The median salary for new lawyers, per the NALP (which is notorious for undercounting small law firms and solos while hitting every large firm lawyer) is just $62k, so it's more than "a few." And it is far from certain that those people will ever hit $100k, which itself may or may not be enough to get them out of a partial financial hardship plan like PAYE or IBR, as I have shown in past threads. And keep in mind the unemployment rate for new attorneys has been higher than the unemployment rate for new college graduates for years now, even as the average law school debt swells to about 4.5x the size of the average undergrad debt. And "Meanwhile most of the world survives on less than $10,000 per year for a 3 person household" is just a sad non sequitur that shows nothing but the hollowness of your position. Hey, J.P. Morgan never had an iPhone or a computer; does that mean we are all better off than J.P. Morgan was?

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jan 6, 2016 1:45:22 PM

"Incredible inequality and poverty" are serious problems. So maybe instead of cashing the $12 mil that Bill Gates Senior gave to U-Dub Law School, it should have given the money to his kid's foundation. $12 mil buys a lot of malaria nets.

Posted by: Cent Rieker | Jan 7, 2016 5:43:55 AM

Using Dougie's analysis at 12:11 above, the US should just shut down and give it up. End free markets, end our democracy because an educated American worker demands to be fairly compensated. What if you said those things to teachers, police officers, fire fighters, garbage collectors, assembly workers, construction, mechanics and doctors? They would all strike if they received anything below 50K for their hard work. What you are espousing is to go to slave wage labor that are the hallmarks of the Third World. We have always grown the middle class. You are avoiding the issue of oversaturation of lawyers.

Posted by: Sy Ablelman | Jan 7, 2016 9:46:34 AM

Dougie, my schedule C has not topped 40K since 2008. I have been out over 25 years. I have taken a minimum wage job at a fueling station on the weekends to pay my Obama Care bronze level plan. One of my law buddies has taken a job in retail while another out over 30 years is answering Craig's list ads for attorney jobs. You are suggesting that I am whining because we should be thrust into the Third World? That is sick analysis! The rest of the world, like Indonesia, Malysia, China and Brazil is bringing up and growing a Middle Class, you want to tear it down. Thoughts like this are why the Republicans gain traction.

Posted by: Sy Ablelman | Jan 7, 2016 9:54:03 AM

"KT: I don’t see legal education as being in crisis at all. What I do see is that there are a lot of crisis in our world that legal education can help address. That’s part of why I’m trying to help our academy look outward and talk about the great things our schools and our profession do around what I think of as real crisis: things like incredible inequality and poverty, and violence around our world."

Did you hear that, 0Ls? For only 200k in student loans, you can attend your local TTT law school, which will somehow help stop the genocide in Darfur! It would be a war crime not to attend!

Posted by: Lonnie | Jan 7, 2016 12:07:01 PM