Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Jim Chen Reviews Brian Tamanaha's New Book, Failing Law Schools

FailingOutgoing Louisville Dean Jim Chen reviews Failing Law Schools (University of Chicago Press, June 15, 2012), by Brian Z. Tamanaha (Washington U.):

Legal education is a broken, failed, even corrupt enterprise. It exalts and enriches law professors at the expense of lawyers, the legal profession, and most of all the students whose tuition dollars finance the entire scheme. With hard numbers and piercing insights, Brian Z. Tamanaha tells the disturbing, scandalous truth. His book is essential reading for anyone who is even contemplating law school, much less committing to a career in law teaching. With any luck, his book will inspire law professors and law school deans who have no other career options to subject themselves to the deepest levels of ethical introspection, the better to lead legal education back into the service of its true stakeholders.

Other reviews of Failing Law Schools:

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The claims are simply not supported by the data.

Lawyers actually do quite well, even in a down economy.

You can see the data from the Department of Labor here:

The median lawyer makes $115,000 per year. The average (mean) is over $130,000. By contrast the typical college graduate makes around $55,000 per year.

90 percent of lawyers make over $55,000. 75 percent of lawyers make more than $75,000. The top 25 percent make more than $170,000 per year.

Granted, these are averages, not just starting salaries, but by mid-career, most lawyers are comfortably upper middle class.

And what’s the unemployment rate for lawyers? Between 1 and 3 percent, much lower than the overall unemployment rate.

The number of lawyers continues to grow, and as a percent of the labor force, lawyers have increased over the last 12 years.

So what’s the problem with law schools?

Posted by: Anon | Jun 18, 2012 3:51:30 PM

So now law professors make money saying how awful it is to be a law professor.

Posted by: michael livingston | Jun 14, 2012 2:29:30 AM

Where does this piece of ludicrous hyperbole (not even supported by the book) appear?

Posted by: Brian | Jun 13, 2012 12:54:55 PM