Arculease wrote: timbs4339 wrote:
Arculease wrote:Everyone calm the fuck down. Yes, a JD is overpriced and the legal market is shrinking. Good news? The supply side is adjusting for this. That is why LSAT administrations are continuing to plummet along with total number of applicants. Will the problem be solved instantly? No. It will take another couple of years to stable out, but it will stabilize, so stop spreading the gloom and doom and put things into perspective (which was this thread's foundation).
The bad news is that this is taking a huge toll on the reputation of the profession in general. As the graph earlier ITT demonstrated, the people skipping out on law school are disproportionately those with higher numbers. People with other options who would have normally gone to law school. We're spending our reputational capital out the ass to keep the Ivory Tower well-provisioned.
It is not a good thing for the future of this profession, if people believe that the folks who go to law school are taking the sucker's bet. I know it's hard to believe that law could ever become a second or third tier career path, but the status of profession is partly dependent on the belief that we are capable of self-regulating.
And if you think that this effect will be less pronounced at the higher end of schools/jobs, think again. Parents, teachers, friends recommend that people attend NYLS and Cooley because they mistakenly believe that all lawyers are rich and successful. That kind of simplistic thinking is a double-edged sword that can be turned against graduates of T20 schools just as easily as it was used to the benefit of TTTs.
As I have said, the market will sort all of this out. Those crap law schools that ignorant people recommend to similarly ignorant undergraduates? They will either go out of business or their reputation for getting no one a good job will precipitate down to the general public. It will become common knowledge.
Lawyers have been around since before there was a written word. If anyone seriously think that a recession can take away the prestige or power of the profession, think again. Go back and read some news articles from the 1930's - reporters were swarming around the fact that the law profession was becoming a relic of a past age due to the Great Depression. The simple fact of the matter is this - the law is too convoluted and vast for businesses, congressmen, criminal defendants, and bickering spouses to be bothered with. There will always
be a need for lawyers.
Now if you want to argue the point of prestige, there might be some substance there. However, let me leave you with this last bit - there's always been jokes about lawyers, and there always will be. Similarly, the last thing someone in the legal system wants to be without is counsel.
I don't think you really understand how the market for law school works, and your faith in the "market" is misplaced. The idea that the schools to first close will be the diploma mills is misguided.
On the one hand, you have schools like Cooley and TJSL, that have no kickback requirements, don't care about admissions standards unless they affect bar passage (and have neat little tricks to get around that), and have more freedom to make cuts and changes. On the other hand, you have affiliated schools that are seeing the bread and butter of their applicant pool (mid to high 160s) dry up. They need to come up with the skim every month, and if they don't, the university will be under pressure to use those facilities for other, profitable purposes. Additionally, a drop in admissions standards for the law school might reflect poorly on the central university.
Under this scenario, it is more likely that a mid-tier school will be closed by their central university for failure to make up this applicant deficit than a school like Cooley which will just low admissions standards or hike tuition with abandon. Other than a successful lawsuit and damages, or ABA/DOE/AG action that forces their closure, I don't see a school like Cooley or NESL folding for lack of applicants- because again, people are not rational actors.
Sleazy, scummy lawyer jokes may abound, but nobody seriously questions the competence and judgment of lawyers as a whole. That is what your clients are buying. That may change when people notice that our "best and brightest" aren't heading off to law school anymore, but the folks with zero other options, substantial undergrad debt, or big dreamers with poor judgment. And even if there are always some jobs for lawyers, a lot of legal work may be taken out of their hands entirely as a result (to answer your example, at this point the criminal justice system largely involves formulaic application of the sentencing guidelines to defendants represented by PDs, something that could easily be put in the hands of an admin judge).
A severely limited legal sector may be an Econ 101 professor's wet dream, but it's not the profession I want to spend the next 40 years in.