For both law schools and law firms, we live in an age where market disruption and technological innovation will drive changes. It’s not clear – or at least not clear to me – how much of the change that results will be sustaining, entrenching the existing leaders, and how much will be disruptive, allowing new entrants to displace existing champions.
Both in law firms and law schools, many people seem to be pondering these sorts of questions. If you want to think about why a school or a legal services institution isn’t changing as fast as it might, Christensen’s insights are extremely helpful. Not much progress comes from accusing the players of being selfish or clueless. Getting a handle on what actually impedes change comes a little faster when you break an institution down into resources, processes and values and think about what kinds of change those might embrace or block.
http://www.thefacultylounge.org/2014/10 ... hange.html
I don't know that I have any more specificity than this Faculty Lounge post, and vice versa. I've certainly had less charity for abstracted power ITT. I think "applicants" are a fundamental part of the equation, though, and really getting a better handle on proxies for optionality would be interesting - maybe "don't go" is the answer for optionality, maybe not for a certain segment of the population because of privilege and/or scholarship/IBR risk-reward calculations, but this doesn't seem like a good aggregate computation in light of the information asymmetries that inform the transparency movement to start with. I do think on the highest level it's kind of complacent to treat schools as interviewer delivery services. Maybe that's a functional proxy for the the softer factors of the degree ("prestige"/hiring as an indicator of not just one-time signaling value at OCI and future optionality, but also e.g. a faith that management incentives are aligned with what students seem to want).
On the other hand, it doesn't seem to serve people *coming in* with optionality well at all, maybe or maybe not to society's detriment (I think so), and it seems institutions should at least in a handful of ways try to own their cultural capital as a locus of power if not incommensurable then of higher value than it's currently treated with respect to markets. (I guess that probably takes fat endowments and will from broader university systems and in many cases state budgets.) Anyway, people who "could do anything" do other things. I think it's becoming increasingly clear that to get more of the actual best and brightest into the game at all, you have to tell them a better story and give them a better agon. That Columbia thing sounds cool. It is something I would like to know. It tells me about the place-in-itself. If I were in a relatively strong position of bargaining power, it could be decisive.
* I still think the huge scholarship to waive OCI is a good idea, not least as a price discovery mechanism for the rest of the experience and maybe even giving prospective students some leverage on associate pay (work it out, it might be true). Maybe tie it to placement to keep firms hiring so everyone can get theirs, I have no idea on the details and do not feel like doing the market structure game theory at all right now.
* RTK looks cool AF, but let's maybe be real about how not-as-elite nonprofits work in lots of non-legal sectors - in a big way, it's a vector of redistribution. On one level it's fucked up to have that downward pressure on wages (as seen in glamour industries like fashion and media) for people who want to do that kind of work, grind and then see brats fuck off on the job. On another, aren't there still private firms and regional offices that take referrals from the elite public interest organizations?
-Anyway, this is cursory analysis, but it seems a little backward to cast this in terms of the "jobs available," because 1) there's an assumption of inelasticity that doesn't necessarily hold up, and 2) not all the resources funding the work are coming from the organizations, in a manner of speaking, cough cough. There's nothing besides the incentive to staff more cheaply keeping the orgs from continuing to hire on a meritocratic basis, right? Not to diminish that - that's huge - but it seems this is already kind of the deal maybe even in legal services; I would be interested to read worldtraveler on the subject (link?).
-I'm interested in the burns on "school-funded jobs" too from this perspective. Is there a critique apart from that they're not reported in qualitative detail and shoved into the overall figure? Nobody wants to go to law school and wind up unemployed after a few years, but how does it look on net to society to have grads who didn't get firm work doing stuff like clinics for people who couldn't otherwise afford them, or adminstrative work from the perspective of someone who has spent 3 years in the machine as a student and may even be especially sympathetic to the underserved? Seems like a risk question.
-Interest is a huge motherfucker and grad school is way too expensive but I'm not sure enough attention in relative terms is given to ex post facto price discrimination like loan repayment, or externalities in the already-perverse system that may or may not amount to a form of redistribution of wealth (but in the aggregate, certainly could).
*There's also a lot to be said for training within the machine of a large firm or bank and transporting those skills elsewhere. On another level, 2200 hours just seems like a shitty and avoidable equilibrium and I'm not convinced the institutions themselves can't do more to address it. (If I knew exactly how, I'd hope someone would be paying me to tell them, so I'm not particularly amenable to "where's the solution?" But yes, wave a wand.)
*A broader kind of transparency (for price discovery, social justice, or just straight up more efficient transmission of expertise / better information for decisionmaking purposes) has to start by having qualitatively superior information shared openly in the marketplace - which comprises this website, not just faculty blogs, so xoxo x10000 to Campos and others for showing up and discussing it. Buyers and sellers don't imagine each other as faceless fungible masses except in commodity markets, and despite the undeniable utility of doing so when appropriate, this is something experiential that maybe shouldn't always - especially at the "top," which is diverse by definition in a properly functioning specialized economy - be so crudely commoditized.
*I really hope we can parse out being "willing" to have one's time bought and sold from having it constructively extorted, as a society.