an unanticipated consequence of
Jack M. Balkin
Jack Balkin: jackbalkin at yahoo.com
Bruce Ackerman bruce.ackerman at yale.edu
Ian Ayres ian.ayres at yale.edu
Mary Dudziak mary.l.dudziak at emory.edu
Joey Fishkin joey.fishkin at gmail.com
Heather Gerken heather.gerken at yale.edu
Mark Graber mgraber at law.umaryland.edu
Stephen Griffin sgriffin at tulane.edu
Bernard Harcourt harcourt at uchicago.edu
Scott Horton shorto at law.columbia.edu
Andrew Koppelman akoppelman at law.northwestern.edu
Marty Lederman marty.lederman at comcast.net
Sanford Levinson slevinson at law.utexas.edu
David Luban david.luban at gmail.com
Gerard Magliocca gmaglioc at iupui.edu
Jason Mazzone mazzonej at illinois.edu
Linda McClain lmcclain at bu.edu
John Mikhail mikhail at law.georgetown.edu
Frank Pasquale pasquale.frank at gmail.com
Nate Persily npersily at gmail.com
Michael Stokes Paulsen michaelstokespaulsen at gmail.com
Deborah Pearlstein dpearlst at princeton.edu
Rick Pildes rick.pildes at nyu.edu
Alice Ristroph alice.ristroph at shu.edu
Brian Tamanaha btamanaha at wulaw.wustl.edu
Mark Tushnet mtushnet at law.harvard.edu
Adam Winkler winkler at ucla.edu
An excerpt from Ohio State Bar Association President Thomas Taggart's column in the January 1998 Ohio Lawyer:
Practicing lawyers and law school administrators have much common ground, but their interests sharply diverge when it comes to their respective views on economics. The practicing lawyers basic concept of economics concerns the disposable income he or she has after paying the expenses.
The law school administrator's concept of economics revolves around obtaining enough money from tuition and state government to pay fixed expenses and raising money to build bigger and better facilities. Their need for money requires maintaining a relatively steady level of student enrollment. Any reduction in student enrollment generally translates into faculty layoffs or elimination of special programs. Law school deans rarely advocate such unpopular measures.
A third group that must be considered in any discussion of legal economics is the law students. A faculty member at a state-supported law school recently confided to me that the average graduate from his law school enters the job market with a combined student loan debt (law school and undergraduate) of $80,000. I have heard other figures for average student debt, but $80,000 seems to be the norm. Assuming the accuracy of this figure, the 966 new lawyers admitted to the bar in November must collectively earn more than $77 million excluding interest, just to repay their educational debt. No matter how you slice it, that represents a lot of legal fees.
I think it fair to say that today's practicing lawyers feel engulfed by the semiannual tidal waves of young, debt-ridden lawyers eager to compete for the relatively finite market for legal services....I think it is also fair to say that law schools, which tailored their faculties and facilities to accommodate the peak demand for lawyers in the 1980s, have done almost nothing to adjust to the new economic realities affecting lawyers and students....
*64 percent of 1996 Ohio law school graduates found full-time legal work compared to a national average of 71.4 percent....
*Despite a steady decline in law school applicants, 2,800 more law degrees were awarded nationwide in 1996 than in 1990 (39,191 and 36,385, respectively)....
These facts are extremely alarming. Unfortunately, they support the proposition that law schools are motivated more by their own institutional economic interests than those of the practicing bar or their own students....
In 2011, 44,500 JDs were awarded--only 55 percent of graduates nationwide obtained full time jobs as lawyers (nine months after graduation). Average combined law school and undergraduate debt exceeded $125,000. Posted
by Brian Tamanaha [link]
The money would be far better spent on underfunded legal aid than on lining professorial pockets.
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