TaxProf Blog

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

Friday, June 16, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

The top news of the week comes from this blog's editor, Paul Caron: Proportion Of Law School Applicants With LSATs > 160 Is Down 35% Since 2010; < 150 Is Up 146%.  In an interview, Dean Caron declared, “It’s not a great thing for the profession or for law schools when the best and the brightest are not going to law schools in the same proportion that they have gone in the past.”  (The Recorder, Fewer Law School Applicants in Line for Upcoming School Year)  This article continued, "Caron said it is up to law schools and lawyers to make the legal profession appealing to millennials. He said there are valid criticisms of both the LSAT and the bar exam, but that focusing only on tests ignores the other side of the problem. 'There’s been a decline in the top students coming to law school,' he said. 'The data are irrefutable there.'"  Dean Caron's post has also been discussed on American Lawyer Media Morning Minute, Above the Law, and the ABA Journal.

Dean Caron's post exposes a serious problem.  Society has depended on lawyers for centuries.  Society needs the "best and brightest" to go to law school.

The Padilla article suggests some solutions.  Professor Padilla writes, "The second part [of this article] describes a range of responses to the storm: panic, paralysis, or pivot. While recognizing there is no single solution and certainly no perfect solution, pivoting seemed the only viable option and certainly the most effective. Pivot pedagogy is essentially a package of ideas to respond to declining applications, applicants, and entering statistics with the goal of improving student performance across the board, especially students with lower entering credentials. This part then details my classroom experiences and experiments with pivot pedagogy over the past two years, including empirical data. It closes with a plea for continued pivot pedagogy as a tool to engage students and improve performance."

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"Dean Caron's post exposes a serious problem.  Society has depended on lawyers for centuries.  Society needs the "best and brightest" to go to law school."

Uh, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Wesbter, Lincoln, even mid-20th century Supreme Court Justice Stanley Forman Reed - none of them went to law school. For that matter, the Milton scholar Stanley Fish, who has taught Law & Literature type courses in about a dozen law schools now, including Yale's, didn't go to law school. Lawyers have existed since the orators of ancient Athens, and laws for millennia before that. Law schools have existed in their current form since the 1870's. I think society will survive a long-term dip in their applications.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jun 16, 2017 11:56:57 AM