I mean, speaking practically, a lot of these are institutional questions, and that's why I get pissed off at the "biglaw + clerkships" meme here, because it puts schools in the position of catering to what applicants think they want without ever having spent a day in law school.
Putting jobs numbers up is definitely a good move from the scamblog perspective, and transparency in that regard is important in the sense that the overwhelming majority of schools are vocational programs, and aren't ready to buy into my socialist utopian vision (PAYE should be extended to "don't pay for education, food, housing, or health"). But a lot of the academic aspects of schools are already transparent, and never discussed here. The disjoint between the name of this website and its content is just depressing.
Anyway the most interesting loci to me in terms of the "crisis in legal education" (subcrisis in capitalism / democracy) from the perspective of this site and from my limited reading to date are:
UCI (this is Chemerinsky straight up building an institution in real time with a bunch of money in response to what he thinks the market/world wants/needs while everyone screams SCAAAAM and misses the causality factor on talent/clerkships - it's seriously a real-time example of how expectations shape reality, and I'm curious how they'll deal with the debt loads on the back end. From the perspective of SCAAAAM I can't stress enough that I think the tax bomb is the bastard here, not creating an academic powerhouse in Orange County that would in a better reality put someone down 15% of discretionary over poverty for 20 years for 3 years in it. The scam is capitalism and intralumpenproletariat resentment. I still think if someone wants to clerk and they're actually excellent at thinking they should maybe feel pretty OK about getting in this pipeline at a discount because stats and "rankings" fail here for fairly obvious reasons. "Institutions" are really just faculty in buildings and what you interface with as applicants with is the administration, which is not the locus of power. This is a faculty that left elite schools for OC and one dude's ideas about an institution. I don't know why neoliberals are so willing to freak out over the idea of vision-as-value from Elon Musk or Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos but when it comes to law schools, totally balk. Oh right, because lawyers. Anyway, schools are collections of people. This one's in a strip mall of a city with good weather. Get money from it maybe? I have no idea)
Northwestern (you go for free if you get in ED, lots of people have worked so they know it's real, the dean seems like a badass who writes really interesting papers in collaboration with cutting-edge social scientists and young researchers, the only *aggressively* futurist-branded T14 still working out its identity in plain sight, but still places like crazy into biglaw and it's not clear whether admissions or anyone else knows just how subversive the school could be if it treated professionalism as camouflage. Is splitter-friendliness a proxy for risk appetite in admissions? It's not a very good one, but people certainly read enough into these things all day. They need to figure out how to square the ED 150k with the JD/MBA. The rational conclusion of ED 150k is a name-your-price ED, by the way; NU is maybe the only school that I think has the nuts/unapologetic market-based approach to pull that off. I guess you bid on everything else once you get there anyway)
WUSTL (a private institution with a fuckton of money and a "well-ranked" UG going into a potentially short-term Koch Bros America riding the Syverud vision of giving the house away so people don't start trying on chains from day 1, definitely interesting and engaged with this aggregation of applicants to its probable benefit. I would like to look more into this but I feel like if anyone wins on "fuck jobs" outside of HYSMI - and NU in my futurist dream world - it's WUSTL)
YS (only need-based aid and beasts of loan repayment programs as a natural price discrimination tool after the fact instead of through "merit" aid because they're explicitly selecting combatants for the agon - I only think policy makes sense working backward from utopia and not piecemeal, so I wonder if elite legal education only makes sense based on a hypo stripping money in large part from the discussion - read: comparing to YS loan repayment, sort of.)
Penn (It seems fine. It's just there. Wharton is boring to me. It doesn't seem like it would be as entertaining to bang against the walls at Penn as at somewhere like YS, NU, UCI, or WUSTL. Seems like it's just casually cruising up to CCN-"tier" by placing a shit ton of students in biglaw and it's Ivy so there's no NU identity crisis or anything but I guess you can probably do what you want. I don't get the sense you really get to do the whole liminal freakout thing but maybe talking Pikkety with the JD/MBAs in your Torts class would be entertaining. Here's a paper from the dean paying lip service to adapting - https://www.law.upenn.edu/cf/faculty/mf ... 010%29.pdf
- it's cool and all but like, you know, it doesn't have the urgency or the sense of radicalism implicit or explicit in the mission statements of the rest of the schools listed above. It's generic. Plus, it isn't really about the future and it doesn't acknowledge crisis in any shape or form. From another, more recent paper:
I mean, just like, whatever. Have fun feeling safe.)
H (I just think Larry Lessig is cool, this school is too big to be that interesting to me, but I like thinking about *the idea of Harvard* and I think that Esquire article is a cool juxtaposition. There are enough of you H motherfuckers here that you can talk about it yourselves. I wish KB would just straight up dish)
NYU (the "self-selection into public interest" meme and the value proposition of going to school in lower Manhattan, but also too big to be interesting to me. I don't really see anything crisis-like but I don't care enough to look into it.)
Michigan (state school going into neofeudal times, seems the least compatible with USNWR after S and doesn't need to give a fuck in some ways, admissions dean is a JD who straight up just posts her philosophies, people here kind of love the vibe and sometimes it seems like pigs going to the slaughter but other times it seems like people choosing based on life itself instead of "jobs" so that's cool; I don't know anything about the institution or its character but seems elite or whatever. The dean is a weeaboo judging from his CV so maybe he is interested in the Kaminska Lost Decade economic singularity thesis we talked about in the off-ts once)
UCLA (always a shitshow culturally, also too big and GPA-focused for me to care that much in light of the splitters I talk to on this website, but the admissions dean seems like a pretty blunt dude when it comes to discussing scholarships for whatever that's worth. Just comically literal in interviews about negotiations. I love it)
Anyway, academic institutions are made of people, administrators take orders from faculty in theory I think, faculty writes its philosophy down and publishes it in readily available form online, and "biglaw + clerkships" is a self-defeating starting point. Just because it's historically the most outrageous part of the "law school scam" doesn't make it the cardinal metric. I really think it's hard to win at life if that's the extent of someone's research on one of the most substantial investments he/she'll ever make. You can't just run numbers. Real analysts ask the management long-term vision questions on calls. Real lawyers read things.
Tl;dr Rationalizing oversimplified conclusions arrived at with basic math and no real critical thinking is at the heart of why law sucks.