University legal education, like higher education generally in the United States, has become sharply more expensive in the past three decades. Many law students now take on substantial loans to attend law school, and it is common to graduate with debts of $100,000 and more.
At many if not most accredited law schools today the academic style is broadly similar, including an emphasis on faculty scholarship which was not characteristic of “non-elite” law schools before the 1970s or 80s.
Are the economics of legal education viable in the medium to long run? In particular, are the economics viable for the broad middle range of “non-elite” law schools?
And is the existing model normatively desirable or defensible? Is the academic style of legal education which is now nearly universal in the United States the right model in the interests of the legal profession and of American society?
Will there be pressures for substantial reform of American legal education in the foreseeable future? Ought there to be? And if so, what direction is reform liable to take, and what are the likely consequences