What percent of law schools should close?

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What percent of law schools should close?

0%
4
2%
25%
50
21%
50%
131
55%
75%
41
17%
93% (All but T14)
13
5%
 
Total votes: 239

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untar614
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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby untar614 » Tue May 28, 2013 10:01 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:
untar614 wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:It is true that, of the regional schools, fewer of those grads become lawyers, but a humongous percentage of a region's lawyers come from those regional schools. We have schools that may only produce lawyers with just 40% of their grads. But the grads of all those schools may provide 95% of the actual working attorneys that service that region. If you close those schools, you have a severe shortage in the region. True, the market will cause some lawyers in flooded regions to relocate to under served regions, but that may not erase the shortage, especially when many grads will think they are going to be the one who breaks through and gets a job in a fairly popular region. Then you have those that would just rather enter into another profession than practice in (insert undesirable state here). So those states needs will remain under served, screwing the general public who lives there.

It is a highly inefficient way of providing legal services to a region. But it the best way that we have. And if we are going to make a decision about what law schools to close, the general public's legal welfare should trump the needs of unemployed law grads every day of the week.


But also, if nearby low-ranked private schools are closed, wouldn't the employment %s of the public school in the area go up, as those jobs are now going to the public school grad? For example, employers in Minnesota may hire from the top third of Hamline, William Mitchell and St .Thomas, but if those were gone, wouldn't they instead hire deeper into UMN, giving UMN better employment?


True, but those numbers may not be enough to adequately serve all those people/businesses in a given region. The employment numbers for schools would go up, but the numbers of lawyers who service the region go way down. If the private schools in Texas closed, there are not enough law grads from UT, Houston, Texas Tech, and TSU to serve all of Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas, and those are the metropolitan areas. You still have the smaller towns to worry about. They are exclusively filled with lawyers from regional schools. The problem is that you have poorer areas of law that have lawyers from these low ranking schools who serve these under served populations. And even still, they are not enough. Texas greatly tries to persuade us lawyers to do pro bono work. These are real problems. But nobody wants to enter into these areas of law because they pay ridiculously low and the work is not interesting. But these populations need to be served.

I am an owner of my own law firm. The businesses that I serve are severely under served, like waaay under served. The problem is that not enough lawyers think how these communities/industries can be served. So you have a few lawyers who are smart enough to take advantage of this and the rest don't even bother. Plus, the work that you have to do is very demanding and many lawyers don't want to do it or they can't do it if they tried. The real answer is that law schools need to do a better job of actually training grads how to be lawyers. The problem is that so many graduates come out of law school not having a clue how to do something to serve the public. Biglaw trains it's associates. Smaller law firms don't do that. So they aren't looking to hire a green grad because that grad cannot offset the work load. He/she would require too much supervision. So then it is no point in hiring that grad in the first place.


But if that's the case, then a new grad from top third at UT-Austin is no better at filling this need than a bottom-thrid grad from Texas Southern. So it's still not that we need to be pumping out tons of grads from TTTs. Having a bunch of law school grads without jobs doesn't help. If the issue is as you describe, reducing grads won't hurt, we just need to be sure the ones not going to big firms in major cities are prepared to work these kinds of matters.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 10:03 pm

but you can't demonize graduates for wanting to go somewhere where they'll actually get paid enough to cover their monthly payments. And if some small town is expecting to bring in some guy who paid three years opportunity cost wages and six figures of debt, pay him worse than peanuts, and then actually expect him to be anything more than a drooling moron, I would say that most of the time their expectations are unrealistic.


This statement totally demonstrates a lack of exposure to real life environments that are foreign to the poster. For one, I never said anything about demonizing graduates. Graduates should be free to work where they please. But the piblic's legal welfare should come first since more people would be affected. But your perspective is one coming from a selfish law student and not the public. The general public could give a rats a$$ about the predicament of law students employment prospects. If the employment prospects are that bad, find another profession. It's that simple. But to assume that members of the general public should be harmed to make it easier for law grads to get jobs is asinine.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 10:05 pm

untar614 wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:
untar614 wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:It is true that, of the regional schools, fewer of those grads become lawyers, but a humongous percentage of a region's lawyers come from those regional schools. We have schools that may only produce lawyers with just 40% of their grads. But the grads of all those schools may provide 95% of the actual working attorneys that service that region. If you close those schools, you have a severe shortage in the region. True, the market will cause some lawyers in flooded regions to relocate to under served regions, but that may not erase the shortage, especially when many grads will think they are going to be the one who breaks through and gets a job in a fairly popular region. Then you have those that would just rather enter into another profession than practice in (insert undesirable state here). So those states needs will remain under served, screwing the general public who lives there.

It is a highly inefficient way of providing legal services to a region. But it the best way that we have. And if we are going to make a decision about what law schools to close, the general public's legal welfare should trump the needs of unemployed law grads every day of the week.


But also, if nearby low-ranked private schools are closed, wouldn't the employment %s of the public school in the area go up, as those jobs are now going to the public school grad? For example, employers in Minnesota may hire from the top third of Hamline, William Mitchell and St .Thomas, but if those were gone, wouldn't they instead hire deeper into UMN, giving UMN better employment?


True, but those numbers may not be enough to adequately serve all those people/businesses in a given region. The employment numbers for schools would go up, but the numbers of lawyers who service the region go way down. If the private schools in Texas closed, there are not enough law grads from UT, Houston, Texas Tech, and TSU to serve all of Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas, and those are the metropolitan areas. You still have the smaller towns to worry about. They are exclusively filled with lawyers from regional schools. The problem is that you have poorer areas of law that have lawyers from these low ranking schools who serve these under served populations. And even still, they are not enough. Texas greatly tries to persuade us lawyers to do pro bono work. These are real problems. But nobody wants to enter into these areas of law because they pay ridiculously low and the work is not interesting. But these populations need to be served.

I am an owner of my own law firm. The businesses that I serve are severely under served, like waaay under served. The problem is that not enough lawyers think how these communities/industries can be served. So you have a few lawyers who are smart enough to take advantage of this and the rest don't even bother. Plus, the work that you have to do is very demanding and many lawyers don't want to do it or they can't do it if they tried. The real answer is that law schools need to do a better job of actually training grads how to be lawyers. The problem is that so many graduates come out of law school not having a clue how to do something to serve the public. Biglaw trains it's associates. Smaller law firms don't do that. So they aren't looking to hire a green grad because that grad cannot offset the work load. He/she would require too much supervision. So then it is no point in hiring that grad in the first place.


But if that's the case, then a new grad from top third at UT-Austin is no better at filling this need than a bottom-thrid grad from Texas Southern. So it's still not that we need to be pumping out tons of grads from TTTs. Having a bunch of law school grads without jobs doesn't help. If the issue is as you describe, reducing grads won't hurt, we just need to be sure the ones not going to big firms in major cities are prepared to work these kinds of matters.



A top third grad from UT is going to have much more viable options than a TSU grad. So the top third UT grad will self select out of this type of work because he/she can. The TSU grad cannot. And as a result of closing schools, this need will go unserved.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue May 28, 2013 10:05 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:The "needs" of any region don't dictate employment patterns. That's not how a free labor market works. Rather, the desire of the labor supply to work in an area does, be that driven from home ties, or field, or money.

But that doesn't make any sense. I can want to work in, say, Santa Barbara all I like, but that's not going to get me a job there if Santa Barbara doesn't need any more lawyers.

And I agree with utlaw - well, generally, but also specifically that there's a need for regional institutions. Maybe not all the regional institutions we have now, but they do play an important role. And if tuition were lowered, it wouldn't matter if not all the grads got jobs; going to these schools wouldn't ruin them. There isn't any field that guarantees *all* its grad jobs; aiming for that is an unrealistic expectation (possible exception: medicine, except they just limit entry to med schools, so certainly not everyone who wants to be a doctor gets the chance to do so).

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby untar614 » Tue May 28, 2013 10:11 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:
untar614 wrote:But if that's the case, then a new grad from top third at UT-Austin is no better at filling this need than a bottom-thrid grad from Texas Southern. So it's still not that we need to be pumping out tons of grads from TTTs. Having a bunch of law school grads without jobs doesn't help. If the issue is as you describe, reducing grads won't hurt, we just need to be sure the ones not going to big firms in major cities are prepared to work these kinds of matters.



A top third grad from UT is going to have much more viable options than a TSU grad. So the top third UT grad will self select out of this type of work because he/she can. The TSU grad cannot. And as a result of closing schools, this need will go unserved.

But there are still a sizeable numebr of underemployed grads from UT, UH and SMU. Why couldn't they fill these spaces just as well and not have 100 grads coming out of TSU each year without jobs? We're on the same side regarding having law schools in regions that need them, but I don't see how having extra TTTs when unemployment is still high is helping.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 28, 2013 10:14 pm

utlaw2007 wrote: This is wrong. You are saying that demand does not dictate employment patterns? Are you kidding? I own a law firm. I do business based on those principles. And I can tell that in Houston, Texas, if you practice an area of law that is not in need at the small firm level, you won't get any business. If you do get business, your services will be seen as a luxury item that can be done without. If your client has an infinite supply of money, they can afford luxury services. If they do not, they can't and will only pay for something if they just have to. At the small firm level, you don't have clients with an infinite supply of money.


I NEVER said demand doesn't dictate employment patterns, I said purported "needs" don't. And if your willingness to pay for those needs doesn't match the lowest price a given supplier of labor will accept, then they won't take your job. If I "need" a Gulfstream jet but am only willing to pay $10, then I certainly did not dictate anything related to the market. You're just basically saying "If you come into Texas looking for serious cash, no one will hire you." You're right, but for many grads, if you don't pay them serious cash, they're not going to work for you. There's your basic, really obvious explanation for why there's a shortage of lawyers in small-town and rural America. That's not the fault of graduates and it's not a good reason to keep crappy schools open.

I like how this forum dismisses the advice and insight of people who actually have experience with this stuff in their given region on the basis of theoretical stuff that they think sounds good.


I would hope a law graduate could recognize an appeal to authority fallacy when they see one. It's not valid for the someone reason it wouldn't be valid for posters to try and discredit someone else's ideas because they had a lower LSAT score.

Also, this thread is full of normative ideas, which makes it more opinion-based, which lends less credence to the authority of experience.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 10:16 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:The "needs" of any region don't dictate employment patterns. That's not how a free labor market works. Rather, the desire of the labor supply to work in an area does, be that driven from home ties, or field, or money.

But that doesn't make any sense. I can want to work in, say, Santa Barbara all I like, but that's not going to get me a job there if Santa Barbara doesn't need any more lawyers.

And I agree with utlaw - well, generally, but also specifically that there's a need for regional institutions. Maybe not all the regional institutions we have now, but they do play an important role. And if tuition were lowered, it wouldn't matter if not all the grads got jobs; going to these schools wouldn't ruin them. There isn't any field that guarantees *all* its grad jobs; aiming for that is an unrealistic expectation (possible exception: medicine, except they just limit entry to med schools, so certainly not everyone who wants to be a doctor gets the chance to do so).



A poster who gets it. I agree with this poster. I do think many regional schools should close. There are plenty of schools that double up on small regions. That region doesn't need both of those schools. But take a school like Texas Tech in west Texas. There are no schools in Texas that would service that region so you have to keep that school open. If you aren't from Lubbock and don't go to school in Lubbock, you are NOT moving there, period. That's one of those cities were some people, including myself, would just find another profession than practice law in Lubbock. Houston has TSU and South Texas and Houston. Our city does not need all three. TSU needs to be closed. It's a terrible law school anyway. My point was that Houston and South Texas service the needs of Houston. UT serves the need of biglaw in Houston. But at the small firm level, not so much.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 10:25 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote: This is wrong. You are saying that demand does not dictate employment patterns? Are you kidding? I own a law firm. I do business based on those principles. And I can tell that in Houston, Texas, if you practice an area of law that is not in need at the small firm level, you won't get any business. If you do get business, your services will be seen as a luxury item that can be done without. If your client has an infinite supply of money, they can afford luxury services. If they do not, they can't and will only pay for something if they just have to. At the small firm level, you don't have clients with an infinite supply of money.


I NEVER said demand doesn't dictate employment patterns, I said purported "needs" don't. And if your willingness to pay for those needs doesn't match the lowest price a given supplier of labor will accept, then they won't take your job. If I "need" a Gulfstream jet but am only willing to pay $10, then I certainly did not dictate anything related to the market. You're just basically saying "If you come into Texas looking for serious cash, no one will hire you." You're right, but for many grads, if you don't pay them serious cash, they're not going to work for you. There's your basic, really obvious explanation for why there's a shortage of lawyers in small-town and rural America. That's not the fault of graduates and it's not a good reason to keep crappy schools open.

I like how this forum dismisses the advice and insight of people who actually have experience with this stuff in their given region on the basis of theoretical stuff that they think sounds good.


I would hope a law graduate could recognize an appeal to authority fallacy when they see one. It's not valid for the someone reason it wouldn't be valid for posters to try and discredit someone else's ideas because they had a lower LSAT score.

Also, this thread is full of normative ideas, which makes it more opinion-based, which lends less credence to the authority of experience.


Dude, now you are just being difficult. My "appeal to authority" is not an appeal to authority. I like how you try to use LSAT terminology to sound more credible. The problem is, you're using it wrong. You're erroneous assumptions are betraying you. I cited my experience to illustrate that I have seen this process in action, whereas, you only cite a theoretical approach to how you think it should operate.

I will say it again. I like how this thread dismisses my accounts of how the market works in Houston, Texas for theoretical explanations with no basis in fact. I referenced my experiences, not to show I have authority, which would be entirely irrelevant, but to show that I see market forces at work firsthand. And I'm saying that they don't jive with your explanation. And please explain to me how needs are different than demand. When it comes to legal services, people demand services that they need. Legal services are not luxuries like fancy cars or trips, not at the small firm level. As a result, I don't see any kind of distinction that you have laid out. But your theoretical anecdotes are superior to my real life observations. Ok, whatever you say.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 28, 2013 10:28 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:
but you can't demonize graduates for wanting to go somewhere where they'll actually get paid enough to cover their monthly payments. And if some small town is expecting to bring in some guy who paid three years opportunity cost wages and six figures of debt, pay him worse than peanuts, and then actually expect him to be anything more than a drooling moron, I would say that most of the time their expectations are unrealistic.


This statement totally demonstrates a lack of exposure to real life environments that are foreign to the poster. For one, I never said anything about demonizing graduates. Graduates should be free to work where they please. But the piblic's legal welfare should come first since more people would be affected.


What does that mean? How does that work in practice? If graduates are free to avoid markets where they aren't getting paid, in what way do you mean that to be consistent with the notion that the public's legal welfare should come first? And who says priorities should be decided by the number of people that should be affected? If I rob someone of $1,000 and give $1 to 1,000 people, that didn't make it right to do so because I "affected more people." You said the public was getting "screwed" by not getting adequate representation--I don't think there's getting screwed nearly to the level a TTT student with six-figures of debt is. These graduates are being financially ruined forever.

But your perspective is one coming from a selfish law student and not the public.


What does this mean? It sounds like you pulled this from the Little Red Book. Law students are selfish for wanting a job that would actually allow them to pay their debt, but someone in a small town isn't selfish for demanding good legal representation but only wanting to pay a third of the market rate for it?

The general public could give a rats a$$ about the predicament of law students employment prospects.


That is the effing problem. "Oh well, screw them, they're lawyers so they probably all have mansions anyway."

If the employment prospects are that bad, find another profession. It's that simple.


Everyone still has a stake in seeing this problem figured out, because you still paid for the forgiven debt, subsidies, and the potentially non-taxable leftover balances. Every taxpayer in America has an interest in stopping the ridiculous charade of $200k TTTs.

But to assume that members of the general public should be harmed to make it easier for law grads to get jobs is asinine.


What harm? Is this again referring to not being able to attract enough lawyers because they won't pay market rate?

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 28, 2013 10:33 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:I cited my experience to illustrate that I have seen this process in action, whereas, you only cite a theoretical approach to how you think it should operate.


Because THIS WAS A THREAD ABOUT HOW IT SHOULD OPERATE. Your experience is completely irrelevant to the normative notion that we should "put the public first", even at the expense of graduates.

And please explain to me how needs are different than demand. When it comes to legal services, people demand services that they need. Legal services are not luxuries like fancy cars or trips, not at the small firm level. As a result, I don't see any kind of distinction that you have laid out. But your theoretical anecdotes are superior to my real life observations. Ok, whatever you say.


"Demand" is an economic term referring to the willingness to pay for a good or service at a given price. "Need" is a word, meaningless in an economic calculation, that you used to describe market demand at a price well below market supply. In an economic context, it does not matter whether you need it or want it--only your willingness to pay.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 28, 2013 10:37 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:The "needs" of any region don't dictate employment patterns. That's not how a free labor market works. Rather, the desire of the labor supply to work in an area does, be that driven from home ties, or field, or money.


But that doesn't make any sense. I can want to work in, say, Santa Barbara all I like, but that's not going to get me a job there if Santa Barbara doesn't need any more lawyers.


Right. The supply and demand of the labor market are in play. If, at the price you supply your labor at, the quantity demanded is zero, you won't be hired. I was just point out that reaching the equilibrium is a function of those variables rather than what those who demand a product claim to "need."

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 10:38 pm

untar614 wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:
untar614 wrote:But if that's the case, then a new grad from top third at UT-Austin is no better at filling this need than a bottom-thrid grad from Texas Southern. So it's still not that we need to be pumping out tons of grads from TTTs. Having a bunch of law school grads without jobs doesn't help. If the issue is as you describe, reducing grads won't hurt, we just need to be sure the ones not going to big firms in major cities are prepared to work these kinds of matters.



A top third grad from UT is going to have much more viable options than a TSU grad. So the top third UT grad will self select out of this type of work because he/she can. The TSU grad cannot. And as a result of closing schools, this need will go unserved.

But there are still a sizeable numebr of underemployed grads from UT, UH and SMU. Why couldn't they fill these spaces just as well and not have 100 grads coming out of TSU each year without jobs? We're on the same side regarding having law schools in regions that need them, but I don't see how having extra TTTs when unemployment is still high is helping.


That is a fair point, but people's expectations are often times largely based on the quality of the school they attended. These expectations are often times unreasonable. But why should the general public suffer because of this? And many grad will wait it out with their employment hunt. This wait still leaves populations underserved. FWIW, I think TSU should close. But South Texas produces far more law firm owners than U of H or UT combined. Law firm owners adjust their practice areas to meet market demand. And at this small firm level, demand=needs. There are no big time clients who have enough money to pay for services that they don't need but demand. Maybe at the bigger firm level where clients have more money, but not at the small firm level where money is tight for clients. This is important because this is the only way these groups get served. But I do agree that TSU should be closed. But not South Texas. There are many law grads who don't have the balls to start up their own law firm. They would rather enter a new profession than to do that. That also does not serve the legal needs of a given community. It's a far more complicated issue than just looking at employment numbers, although I do think employment numbers should be a significant factor as well as the percentage of attorneys from certain schools who service an area.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 10:40 pm

Because THIS WAS A THREAD ABOUT HOW IT SHOULD OPERATE. Your experience is completely irrelevant to the normative notion that we should "put the public first", even at the expense of graduates.


And I am not able to express my opinion about how it should operate? Seriously?! You are that selfish and entitled?! Furthermore, I expressed it because people's stated opinions implied how it, in fact, does operate.

My experience WAS completely relevant to explaining how regions of the country are served with legal services. But if you guys want to speculate without the input of more informed opinions, just say so.
Last edited by utlaw2007 on Tue May 28, 2013 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue May 28, 2013 10:41 pm

Law students are selfish for wanting a job that would actually allow them to pay their debt, but someone in a small town isn't selfish for demanding good legal representation but only wanting to pay a third of the market rate for it?

Oh, come on. There are plenty of people who need (yes, need) legal representation who can't afford it because they have no money. That doesn't make them selfish. (Legal representation isn't the same as food/shelter, but lack of it can really screw people's lives.)

But more so, "market rate" wouldn't be an issue if tuition were lower. Law school grads (some of them) go for high-paying jobs because they take have to, because they take on so much debt. So lowering tuition is another possibility in this pie-in-the-sky how-can-we-make-law-school-perfect.

(Which also goes to the public's stake in this - no, honestly, the public doesn't and shouldn't care about whether law students get jobs. They might, and should, care about the debt burden and who pays for it and the drain on the economy of people who can't pay back their debt, but not per se that a law student can't get a job.)

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 10:53 pm

"Demand" is an economic term referring to the willingness to pay for a good or service at a given price. "Need" is a word, meaningless in an economic calculation, that you used to describe market demand at a price well below market supply. In an economic context, it does not matter whether you need it or want it--only your willingness to pay.


You are splitting hairs. Sure, demand is a function of people's willingness to pay. But there must be a need for those services to even get to the point of determining willingness to pay. Needs still dictate employment. Your assumption is that all those who need but can't pay do not dictate employment. That is true. But at the small firm level, all those who demand, need those services. So needs still dictate employment. If an entity didn't need services, that entity would likely not even demand them. So a need is still at the foundation of a demand for services.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 28, 2013 11:00 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:
Because THIS WAS A THREAD ABOUT HOW IT SHOULD OPERATE. Your experience is completely irrelevant to the normative notion that we should "put the public first", even at the expense of graduates.


And I am not able to express my opinion about how it should operate? Seriously?! You are that selfish and entitled?! Furthermore, I expressed it because people's stated opinions implied how it, in fact, does operate.

My experience WAS completely relevant to explaining how regions of the country are served with legal services. But if you guys want to speculate without the input of more informed opinions, just say so.


Of course you can express your opinion about how it should operate. I'm just saying your opinion on this issue is not more valid because you operate your own firm, precisely because you haven't provided any insight as to how that experience would make your opinion more valid. You've just said "I don't think expensive TTTs close because this will hurt the chances of small-town folk to get legal representation, and I believe this to be a more valid opinion because I operate my own firm."

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Oh, come on. There are plenty of people who need (yes, need) legal representation who can't afford it because they have no money. That doesn't make them selfish. (Legal representation isn't the same as food/shelter, but lack of it can really screw people's lives.)


I agree it doesn't make them selfish, I'm just trying to draw parallels between the situations. The other poster referred to me (and presumably anyone who agrees) as "selfish" because I said a graduate has every right to avoid doing small-town/rural work if it doesn't pay what they want. No one's being "selfish", every's just trying to maximize their own utility. That's why I don't think merely the fact that there's a shortage of small-town lawyers is evidence TTTs should stay open. If small-town clients won't hire at the market rate, and grads won't work at below market-rate, then obviously there will be a shortage. I don't call that a "problem"; you can but there's certainly no solution that maximizes outcomes in the aggregate.

But more so, "market rate" wouldn't be an issue if tuition were lower. Law school grads (some of them) go for high-paying jobs because they take have to, because they take on so much debt. So lowering tuition is another possibility in this pie-in-the-sky how-can-we-make-law-school-perfect.


I completely agree. My issue is not with Tier 2 and below in general, only those who charge so much while knowing their grads aren't getting Biglaw and therefore knowing the grads have no way to pay back the debt. If Texas had a bunch of low-cost law schools, then small-town kids could actually afford to go to law school AND come back and work there.

(Which also goes to the public's stake in this - no, honestly, the public doesn't and shouldn't care about whether law students get jobs. They might, and should, care about the debt burden and who pays for it and the drain on the economy of people who can't pay back their debt, but not per se that a law student can't get a job.)


If the public doesn't care about law students, then law students shouldn't be expected to care about the public. I don't think the public should cry a river for graduates of expensive TTTs (far as I'm concerned, mostly their own fault), but then no one should begrudge a student for putting his/her finances above all else. It's perfectly valid for the public to say "We can't afford legal representation at market rates", but it's just as valid for grads to say "I can't afford to work at below-market rate." They're both right, and that means a shortage.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 28, 2013 11:07 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:
"Demand" is an economic term referring to the willingness to pay for a good or service at a given price. "Need" is a word, meaningless in an economic calculation, that you used to describe market demand at a price well below market supply. In an economic context, it does not matter whether you need it or want it--only your willingness to pay.


You are splitting hairs. Sure, demand is a function of people's willingness to pay. But there must be a need for those services to even get to the point of determining willingness to pay. Needs still dictate employment. Your assumption is that all those who need but can't pay do not dictate employment. That is true. But at the small firm level, all those who demand, need those services. So needs still dictate employment. If an entity didn't need services, that entity would likely not even demand them. So a need is still at the foundation of a demand for services.


Fine, so if you use the words interchangably, I'll go back to this:

utlaw2007 wrote: So you are suggesting that unpopular regions of the country should hope like mad that someone has the presence of mind to move to their region? And if not enough lawyers do this the legal needs of the region be damned? That is not sensible.


Market demand in the "unpopular regions" is at a below-market price. Indebted graduates need to work at market price to pay back their loans. Ergo, there is a shortage of lawyers in the region. What is "not sensible" about that?

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby untar614 » Tue May 28, 2013 11:10 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:
untar614 wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:
untar614 wrote:But if that's the case, then a new grad from top third at UT-Austin is no better at filling this need than a bottom-thrid grad from Texas Southern. So it's still not that we need to be pumping out tons of grads from TTTs. Having a bunch of law school grads without jobs doesn't help. If the issue is as you describe, reducing grads won't hurt, we just need to be sure the ones not going to big firms in major cities are prepared to work these kinds of matters.



A top third grad from UT is going to have much more viable options than a TSU grad. So the top third UT grad will self select out of this type of work because he/she can. The TSU grad cannot. And as a result of closing schools, this need will go unserved.

But there are still a sizeable numebr of underemployed grads from UT, UH and SMU. Why couldn't they fill these spaces just as well and not have 100 grads coming out of TSU each year without jobs? We're on the same side regarding having law schools in regions that need them, but I don't see how having extra TTTs when unemployment is still high is helping.


That is a fair point, but people's expectations are often times largely based on the quality of the school they attended. These expectations are often times unreasonable. But why should the general public suffer because of this? And many grad will wait it out with their employment hunt. This wait still leaves populations underserved. FWIW, I think TSU should close. But South Texas produces far more law firm owners than U of H or UT combined. Law firm owners adjust their practice areas to meet market demand. And at this small firm level, demand=needs. There are no big time clients who have enough money to pay for services that they don't need but demand. Maybe at the bigger firm level where clients have more money, but not at the small firm level where money is tight for clients. This is important because this is the only way these groups get served. But I do agree that TSU should be closed. But not South Texas. There are many law grads who don't have the balls to start up their own law firm. They would rather enter a new profession than to do that. That also does not serve the legal needs of a given community. It's a far more complicated issue than just looking at employment numbers, although I do think employment numbers should be a significant factor as well as the percentage of attorneys from certain schools who service an area.


But then why do we need UH AND South Texas? Couldn't all these firm-starters go to UH instead if South Texas were closed? Neither has amazing employment, but I imagine if they didn't have the other to compete with, it'd be much better. And UH is public, so it seems more capable of having lower in-state tuition, and thus the better choice of the 2 to keep open. Oh, and I had said earlier I prob should have left TTech in the list as a lawyer source for rural Texas.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 11:15 pm

I totally think that half the law schools should close. I get that. But I also have a business. I have resources for recourse. Others in similar positions do not. Small businesses will not engage each other if there is no legal recourse to be had. The businesses should not be left out in the cold because no law grad wants to move to their town. Unfortunately, most people aren't law grads. A father with a family of four who has worked hard to build his business doesn't care if law grads are unemployed. And if I were in his position, I wouldn't care, either. But he does care about having access to a lawyer if he needs one. If he lives in BFE, no law grad from another part of the same region will likely be there to help him. So that makes him apprehensive about entering business deals. And if less money is exchanged, the economy suffers. And grads from only certain schools populate those regions. Sure, other grads from other schools might populate those regions if those schools were closed. And some would. But I just don't think enough would, Some people don't have to become lawyers. Yeah, once someone has started law school and incurred debt, he/she doesn't have much of a choice. But why go to law school in the first place if I have to move to Alaska to practice. F*&^% that. I just won't go to law school. In general, people go to to law school in those regions where they are prepared to live. There was no way I was leaving Texas to practice, not even for biglaw. If I felt I had to do that, I wouldn't have gone to law school in the first place.

At the same time, I recognize that many law schools need to close. The grads they produce can't help that guy anyway because most of them suck. But you can't go closing regional schools that have good reps in the region. The reason why they have good reps is because those schools produce some lawyers that do good for the community. And a lawyer has no value if he/she can't serve the community, whether that be a large corporation or small business or criminal defendant.

The reason why I raised such an objection is because I tire of some people belittling other regions of the country of which they have no familiarity. You can't have law schools in only populated regions of the country. You have to close schools by quality and region. Clearly, several schools need to be closed. I've been advocating that for years. But we need to be informed about just what schools need to be closed. That's all I'm trying to say.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 11:20 pm

But then why do we need UH AND South Texas? Couldn't all these firm-starters go to UH instead if South Texas were closed? Neither has amazing employment, but I imagine if they didn't have the other to compete with, it'd be much better. And UH is public, so it seems more capable of having lower in-state tuition, and thus the better choice of the 2 to keep open. Oh, and I had said earlier I prob should have left TTech in the list as a lawyer source for rural Texas.


They wouldn't get into to Houston. That's why they went to South Texas in the first place. I can tell you if you closed South Texas, Houston and UT would not produce nearly enough lawyers to serve Houston. I live in Houston. That's my opinion. But that is based on real observation.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 11:27 pm

And do I think there should be a cap on tuition? Of course I do. Most schools, whether public or private should be capped at a low cost. That way the grads of such schools would not be forced to work for lots of money. That is really the bulk of the problem. Law grads are not free to work where they want because of the debt that they have incurred. It makes no sense that most of these schools are charging what they are charging for legal educations. Half should be closed. And the most of the other half should have their tuition reduced based on employment prospects.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 28, 2013 11:30 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:I totally think that half the law schools should close. I get that. But I also have a business. I have resources for recourse. Others in similar positions do not. Small businesses will not engage each other if there is no legal recourse to be had. The businesses should not be left out in the cold because no law grad wants to move to their town. Unfortunately, most people aren't law grads. A father with a family of four who has worked hard to build his business doesn't care if law grads are unemployed. And if I were in his position, I wouldn't care, either. But he does care about having access to a lawyer if he needs one.


As I've mentioned before, if states really want to remedy this problem (Joe Six-Pack can't afford market-rate lawyers, but grads with a bunch of debt can't afford to work below market rate), they'll subsidize law schools that will allow grads to work in their states at below-market rates. But it seems like there is little to no political pressure to do this. I'm guessing (though I can't know for sure) this is something similar to the insurance problem (where people buy the cheapest possible plan but then complain about how little it covers when things turn bad): Nobody is going to want to pay the higher taxes to subsidize these schools, but then when they do have legal trouble, they'll complain about how they can't get an affordable lawyer. We could reasonably keep well over 100 if every state funded their public law schools like, say, Alabama, Utah or Virginia. If the TTTs cost < $20k/yr, that would solve everyone's problem, but taxpayers would have to be willing to stomach it on a state-by-state basis.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 11:32 pm

Generally speaking, lawyers, even the good ones, start practices because they can't find jobs. So there has to be a few schools left open to give this incentive to some of the grads. It doesn't take much ability practice some of these areas of law at some of those levels. But those areas of practice still help a lot of people.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby untar614 » Tue May 28, 2013 11:35 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:
But then why do we need UH AND South Texas? Couldn't all these firm-starters go to UH instead if South Texas were closed? Neither has amazing employment, but I imagine if they didn't have the other to compete with, it'd be much better. And UH is public, so it seems more capable of having lower in-state tuition, and thus the better choice of the 2 to keep open. Oh, and I had said earlier I prob should have left TTech in the list as a lawyer source for rural Texas.


They wouldn't get into to Houston. That's why they went to South Texas in the first place. I can tell you if you closed South Texas, Houston and UT would not produce nearly enough lawyers to serve Houston. I live in Houston. That's my opinion. But that is based on real observation.


If they couldn't even get into UH, maybe we should be looking for different people to serve the legal needs of the community. Half of South Texas' class got under 153 (which is about the cutoff for the equivalent of 60% - a D - on the LSAT; Half of their class would've gotten an F on the LSAT is it gave out standard letter grades). If the lawyer need is so huge, why are their employment scores not higher? If that were really an issue, then in response to closing South Texas, UH could increase class size (thus beign forced to relax admissions standards a bit at the lower end) and it would be much more efficient. Plus South Texas' class size is way too big.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 11:36 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:I totally think that half the law schools should close. I get that. But I also have a business. I have resources for recourse. Others in similar positions do not. Small businesses will not engage each other if there is no legal recourse to be had. The businesses should not be left out in the cold because no law grad wants to move to their town. Unfortunately, most people aren't law grads. A father with a family of four who has worked hard to build his business doesn't care if law grads are unemployed. And if I were in his position, I wouldn't care, either. But he does care about having access to a lawyer if he needs one.


As I've mentioned before, if states really want to remedy this problem (Joe Six-Pack can't afford market-rate lawyers, but grads with a bunch of debt can't afford to work below market rate), they'll subsidize law schools that will allow grads to work in their states at below-market rates. But it seems like there is little to no political pressure to do this. I'm guessing (though I can't know for sure) this is something similar to the insurance problem (where people buy the cheapest possible plan but then complain about how little it covers when things turn bad): Nobody is going to want to pay the higher taxes to subsidize these schools, but then when they do have legal trouble, they'll complain about how they can't get an affordable lawyer. We could reasonably keep well over 100 if every state funded their public law schools like, say, Alabama, Utah or Virginia. If the TTTs cost < $20k/yr, that would solve everyone's problem, but taxpayers would have to be willing to stomach it on a state-by-state basis.


I finally get what you are saying about providing services below cost. I haven't had time to read all your posts in their entirety. I'm still at the office.

But I agree wholeheartedly with this. I do think that if lawyers services cannot be afforded then there shouldn't be access to those services. But I wasn't really talking about the really poor rural areas. I was just referring to those areas that can afford the services, they just need access to those services.




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