jackbalkin at yahoo.com
bruce.ackerman at yale.edu
ian.ayres at yale.edu
corey_brettschneider at brown.edu
mary.l.dudziak at emory.edu
joey.fishkin at gmail.com
Heather Gerken heather.gerken at yale.edu
Abbe Gluck abbe.gluck at yale.edu
mgraber at law.umaryland.edu
sgriffin at tulane.edu
jonathan.hafetz at shu.edu
jkessler at law.columbia.edu
akoppelman at law.northwestern.edu
msl46 at law.georgetown.edu
slevinson at law.utexas.edu
david.luban at gmail.com
gmaglioc at iupui.edu
mazzonej at illinois.edu
lmcclain at bu.edu
mikhail at law.georgetown.edu
pasquale.frank at gmail.com
npersily at gmail.com
Michael Stokes Paulsen
michaelstokespaulsen at gmail.com
dpearlst at yu.edu
rick.pildes at nyu.edu
dpozen at law.columbia.edu
raprimus at umich.edu
K. Sabeel Rahmansabeel.rahman at brooklaw.edu
alice.ristroph at shu.edu
siegel at law.duke.edu
david.super at law.georgetown.edu
btamanaha at wulaw.wustl.edu
nelson.tebbe at brooklaw.edu
mtushnet at law.harvard.edu
winkler at ucla.edu
Compendium of posts on Hobby Lobby and related cases
The Anti-Torture Memos: Balkinization Posts on Torture, Interrogation, Detention, War Powers, and OLC
The Anti-Torture Memos (arranged by topic)
The Coming Crunch for Law Schools
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
The Coming Crunch for Law Schools
The New York Times released a chart yesterday showing that law schools are churning out far more lawyers than the number of available legal positions. That is old news, of course. What's worse is that the oversupply promises to continue. In 2010, Georgetown enrolled 591 first year JD students, Harvard enrolled 531, Fordham enrolled 477, and NYU enrolled 476. Large classes are not limited to top schools: New York Law School took in 641, John Marshall (Chicago) enrolled 539, and Suffolk enrolled 531. (Let's not talk about the 808 first year students taken by Florida Coastal and 1,583 by Cooley.) Law schools now pump out about 45,000 graduates annually at a time when the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects about 28,000 new lawyer positions per year.
Call me a glass half-full kind of guy, but it seems to me that with dumber lawyers, people are more likely to follow the law.
Are there too many lawyers? I thought so AFTER November of 1954 when I was admitted to practice in MA. I would check the new admissions twice each year and worry about the field being too crowded - until, of course, I had established a pretty good practice that served me well until my semi-retirement in 1998. If there are too many lawyers, why? My answer has been that going to law school gives one a good shot at grabbing the brass ring without too much heavy lifting, unlike, say, medical school.
I have noted before my love for Mel Lazarus' "Miss Peach" comic strip going back a few too many decades, especially the strip that adorned my office wall for several decades, with grade schhol student Arthur at the podium with the banner "Future Lawyers of America Meet Here" (or something like that) pronouncing that his goal in life was to "Sue every man, woman and child in America" (or something like that). Now that the Scalia-5 have condemned class actions in Wal Mart, alas, poor Arthur would have to do that piece meal, and how long might that take with a population of over 300 million. No class!
Also, as I have noted in the past, the most tuition I paid was in my third year of law school: $400.00. After all these years, it is obvious something is wrong. If there are too many lawyers, does this result in more litigation or unnecessary legal work? Does this mean, as mls seems to suggest, dumber lawyers? I'd like to hear more of mls' glass half-full hypothesis on this. Compare this to the medical profession: would dumber doctors result in people more likely to be healthy?
What I do note, as a glass half-empty kind of guy [not really, i'm just being a nudge early in the morning because I can't sleep], is that with too many lawyers there have not resulted better lawyer jokes.
Just as water seeks its own level (including in half-ful and half-empty glasses), perhaps the venerable "market" will in time straighten this all out for the legal, including academic, community. But my concern is for the students, too young perhaps to understand they may be treading water and are in need of financial floatation devices. I hear you, Brian, as I have in the past, sharing your concerns. The expression "Physician, heal thyself" may not work for lawyers.
@ mls. I couldn't have put it better myself. Hopefully, the rest will get what you said, as well.
This job insecurity is, however, painful especially for the people that follow law school out of passion, fighting for what they believe in.
Students freshly graduated and of the school's benches hit this wall: a field of work overcrowded, with not enough jobs and lowered salaries. They're without jobs and in debt, because of aiming for the jobs they've decided they'd be perfect for.
I've wanted to quit several times as well, but having set my standards high, reading about notable personalities like Karla Moskowitz, Elizabeth K Lee or Rolando T. Acosta, I knew that I should at least finish law school for myself.
Let's hope things will get better!
I'll deal with the job shortage in some other way, but I've decided I must finish what I've started either way.
I request that Professor Tamanaha ask Professor Lederman to open his posts for comments. Admittedly unrelated to the subject of this thread, except to the extent that dumber lawyers would not be able to re-define "torture" or "hostilities" as deftly as the very smart lawyers from OLC.
I feel Paulie's pain:
"They're without jobs and in debt, because of aiming for the jobs they've decided they'd be perfect for. "
but I wonder about their decision that they'd be "perfect" as lawyers. One can do well as an attorney or do good (or both?). Is the passion for the former or the latter? Perhaps the huge debt suggests the former. And that may be the underlying problem that Brian is trying to get at.
mls' screed on OLC might suggest to some how smart John Yoo was or to others how dumb he was and wonder how could newbies in OLC get any dumber. I don't know if Prof. Lederman will jump into the comment fray, but I'd still like to learn more of mls' hypothesis on dumber lawyers resulting from the current situation in law schools with the result that " ... people are more likely to follow the law." (Hopefully, it would not be lemming-like.)
Shag- just joking about the dumber lawyers. But I would like Professor Lederman to open up his posts for comments because I have a few things to say about the smarter lawyers.
Re the chart:
I'm probably missing something obvious, but could someone explain how we get more 1L enrollees than applicants in a given year?
Since the growth in law school populations following WW II, together with increases/changes in statutes/case law at both the federal and state levels, there have been issues of elitism versus egalitarianism. As long as the market for legal services could absorb this growth, such issues have not been seriously addressed. Now with the slowdown in legal demand presumably due to the economy, concerns of having too many lawyers gets to the forefront, requiring consideration of elitism versus egalitarianism. Perhaps normally high tuitions would curb the growth of excess lawyers. Unless something is done about such high tuitions, perhaps egalitarianism may suffer more than elitism. Once again there may be steps taken via bar exams, internships to avoid too much growth in new lawyers. But what should not be put at risk is the importance of providing lawyers qualified to deliver good legal services to clients, including the importance of lawyers serving as gatekeepers. So there must be a lot of soul searching in the legal academy, bar associations, practicing attorneys and law students. The practice of law should not be an elite bastion as it had been to a certain extent prior to WW II.
As to whether there are indeed too many lawyers, perhaps Brian can provide a chart demonstrating per capita increases in the number of lawyers going back to post-WW II. To a certain extent, new statutes/case law at the federal and state levels may have contributed to per capita increases but to what extent? Surely those clients with deep pockets can obtain well qualified legal beagles to deliver legal services. But what about those without deep pockets? Are they receiving shoddy legal services or going bare? So back to elitism versus egalitarianism.
Brian, to make matters worse, do yu know how many non-ABA-approved law schools exist in CA? Some of them even provide an online legal education!
Law schools are missing the boat in connection with teaching the skills now required for a law firm and its lawyers to succeed, as I noted at http://kowalskiandassociatesblog.com/2011/05/19/it-takes-a-village-to-build-a-successful-law-firm-fewer-residents-of-that-village-are-actually-lawyers/
Add to this calculus the fact that law firms no longer have a monopoly to provide legal services: http://kowalskiandassociatesblog.com/2011/06/21/grabbing-slices-of-the-diminishing-legal-spend-pie-legal-project-outsourcing-downsourcing-and-insourcing/
But, as I said earlier, with the demand for lawyers decreasing regularly, the anomaly of increasing enrollment, skyrocketing tuition and the creation of even more law schools is a by-product of the hype and hucksterism of law school academia, as David Seagall has covered so well in the Times. The blatant deceptive reporting by law schools of the employment results of graduates is an ignominious stain on the profession and borders on criminality, illegality and certainly is completely inconsistent with the high ethical standards the profession purports to profess. See more at http://kowalskiandassociatesblog.com/2010/07/25/what-if-they-built-a-new-law-school-and-nobody-came/
The failure by law schools to educate students in the new skills required in the market only adds to their ignominy.
Shag from Brookline requested data and a chart showing JD production. I have compiled some data from ABA statistics that go back to 1963 and calculated how much JD production occurred relative to the population. (I created and plotted a stat called "Sustained Inverse Lawyers Per Capita", which is a measure of the inverse lawyers per capita that could be sustained by JD production in a given year assuming that a lawyer's work life would last for about 40 years.) To see the data and the charts, visit this post at my blog:
40 Years of Lawyer Overproduction, a Data Table, and 2 Charts
The amount of JDs produced each year began increasing in the 1960s with a more dramatic increase in the 1970s.
Consequently, the current amount of JDs per capita is about 1 JD for every 215 people (only counting JDs produced over the past 40 years).
In 2009, the law schools produced enough new JDs to sustain having a lawyer-to-population ratio of 1 JD for every 174.4 people.
In David Segal's recent New York Times article he reported that according to the Law School Admission Council, 49,700 new JDs were minted (in either 2010 or 2011, I'm not sure which year). At that rate of JD production, in 40 years we would have almost 2 million JDs who would have graduated over the previous 40 years.
Here are some other blog posts of mine that may be of interest. I obtained ABA and Bureau of Labor Statistics stats which suggest that fewer than 54% of all JDs are employed in the legal profession:
Statistics suggest that only 53.8% of all lawyers are employed in the legal profession
It is also possible to construct a model showing that fewer than 30% of recent graduates are able to find work in the legal profession:
Statistics may suggest that less than 30% of new JDs were able to find work in the legal profession over the past 10 years.
It is also possible that at some point in the future we could end up having 2 million JDs produced in the previous 40 years:
2 million attorneys?
2 million attorneys? Not as far-fetched as it might seem.
I also noticed in the past, most studies I paid was in my third year of law school: $ 400.00. After all these years, it is clear that something is wrong. If there are too many lawyers does it lead to more lawsuits or unnecessary legal work? Does this suggest that MLS dumber lawyers? I want to hear more than a hypothesis MLS glass half full on this. Compare this with the medical profession: doctors would result in stupid people more likely to be healthy?
I also noticed in the past, most studies I paid was in my third year of law school: $ 400.00. After all these years, it is clear that something is wrong. If there are too many lawyers does it lead to more lawsuits or unnecessary legal work? Does this suggest that MLS dumber lawyers? I want to hear more than a hypothesis MLS glass half full on this. Compare this with the medical profession: doctors would result in stupid people more likely to be healthy? WOW GoldWOW Items GoldBuy WOW ItemsCheap WOW ItemsTera Goldbuy tera goldTera GoldBuy WOW Gold
The lawyers are too many? I thought so after November 1954, when I was taken into practice in MA. I would check the new admissions twice a year and a concern for the field is too crowded - until, of course, I made a pretty good practice, which has served me well until my semi-retirement in 1998. If there are too many lawyers, why? My answer is that going to law school to give a good shot to grab the brass ring without too much heavy lifting, as opposed to say, the Medical School.
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When prospective lawyers are searching for the best law schools, they should keep a few things in mind. The most important thing to remember, however, is that the best law school for one student is not always the best law school for another student. Students must make a number of personal choices when looking at schools.
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Jack M. Balkin, What Roe v. Wade Should Have Said: The Nation's Top Legal Experts Rewrite America's Most Controversial Decision - Revised Edition (NYU Press, 2023)
Andrew Koppelman, Burning Down the House: How Libertarian Philosophy Was Corrupted by Delusion and Greed (St. Martin’s Press, 2022)
Gerard N. Magliocca, Washington's Heir: The Life of Justice Bushrod Washington (Oxford University Press, 2022)
Joseph Fishkin and William E. Forbath, The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution: Reconstructing the Economic Foundations of American Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2022)
Mark Tushnet and Bojan Bugaric, Power to the People: Constitutionalism in the Age of Populism (Oxford University Press 2021).
Mark Philip Bradley and Mary L. Dudziak, eds., Making the Forever War: Marilyn B. Young on the Culture and Politics of American Militarism Culture and Politics in the Cold War and Beyond (University of Massachusetts Press, 2021).
Jack M. Balkin, What Obergefell v. Hodges Should Have Said: The Nation's Top Legal Experts Rewrite America's Same-Sex Marriage Decision (Yale University Press, 2020)
Frank Pasquale, New Laws of Robotics: Defending Human Expertise in the Age of AI (Belknap Press, 2020)
Jack M. Balkin, The Cycles of Constitutional Time (Oxford University Press, 2020)
Mark Tushnet, Taking Back the Constitution: Activist Judges and the Next Age of American Law (Yale University Press 2020).
Andrew Koppelman, Gay Rights vs. Religious Liberty?: The Unnecessary Conflict (Oxford University Press, 2020)
Ezekiel J Emanuel and Abbe R. Gluck, The Trillion Dollar Revolution: How the Affordable Care Act Transformed Politics, Law, and Health Care in America (PublicAffairs, 2020)
Linda C. McClain, Who's the Bigot?: Learning from Conflicts over Marriage and Civil Rights Law (Oxford University Press, 2020)
Sanford Levinson and Jack M. Balkin, Democracy and Dysfunction (University of Chicago Press, 2019)
Sanford Levinson, Written in Stone: Public Monuments in Changing Societies (Duke University Press 2018)
Mark A. Graber, Sanford Levinson, and Mark Tushnet, eds., Constitutional Democracy in Crisis? (Oxford University Press 2018)
Gerard Magliocca, The Heart of the Constitution: How the Bill of Rights became the Bill of Rights (Oxford University Press, 2018)
Cynthia Levinson and Sanford Levinson, Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws that Affect Us Today (Peachtree Publishers, 2017)
Brian Z. Tamanaha, A Realistic Theory of Law (Cambridge University Press 2017)
Sanford Levinson, Nullification and Secession in Modern Constitutional Thought (University Press of Kansas 2016)
Sanford Levinson, An Argument Open to All: Reading The Federalist in the 21st Century (Yale University Press 2015)
Stephen M. Griffin, Broken Trust: Dysfunctional Government and Constitutional Reform (University Press of Kansas, 2015)
Frank Pasquale, The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information (Harvard University Press, 2015)
Bruce Ackerman, We the People, Volume 3: The Civil Rights Revolution (Harvard University Press, 2014)
Balkinization Symposium on We the People, Volume 3: The Civil Rights Revolution
Joseph Fishkin, Bottlenecks: A New Theory of Equal Opportunity (Oxford University Press, 2014)
Mark A. Graber, A New Introduction to American Constitutionalism (Oxford University Press, 2013)
John Mikhail, Elements of Moral Cognition: Rawls' Linguistic Analogy and the Cognitive Science of Moral and Legal Judgment (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
Gerard N. Magliocca, American Founding Son: John Bingham and the Invention of the Fourteenth Amendment (New York University Press, 2013)
Stephen M. Griffin, Long Wars and the Constitution (Harvard University Press, 2013)
Andrew Koppelman, The Tough Luck Constitution and the Assault on Health Care Reform (Oxford University Press, 2013)
James E. Fleming and Linda C. McClain, Ordered Liberty: Rights, Responsibilities, and Virtues (Harvard University Press, 2013)
Balkinization Symposium on Ordered Liberty: Rights, Responsibilities, and Virtues
Andrew Koppelman, Defending American Religious Neutrality (Harvard University Press, 2013)
Brian Z. Tamanaha, Failing Law Schools (University of Chicago Press, 2012)
Sanford Levinson, Framed: America's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance (Oxford University Press, 2012)
Linda C. McClain and Joanna L. Grossman, Gender Equality: Dimensions of Women's Equal Citizenship (Cambridge University Press, 2012)
Mary Dudziak, War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences (Oxford University Press, 2012)
Jack M. Balkin, Living Originalism (Harvard University Press, 2011)
Jason Mazzone, Copyfraud and Other Abuses of Intellectual Property Law (Stanford University Press, 2011)
Richard W. Garnett and Andrew Koppelman, First Amendment Stories, (Foundation Press 2011)
Jack M. Balkin, Constitutional Redemption: Political Faith in an Unjust World (Harvard University Press, 2011)
Gerard Magliocca, The Tragedy of William Jennings Bryan: Constitutional Law and the Politics of Backlash (Yale University Press, 2011)
Bernard Harcourt, The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order (Harvard University Press, 2010)
Bruce Ackerman, The Decline and Fall of the American Republic (Harvard University Press, 2010)
Balkinization Symposium on The Decline and Fall of the American Republic
Ian Ayres. Carrots and Sticks: Unlock the Power of Incentives to Get Things Done (Bantam Books, 2010)
Mark Tushnet, Why the Constitution Matters (Yale University Press 2010)
Ian Ayres and Barry Nalebuff: Lifecycle Investing: A New, Safe, and Audacious Way to Improve the Performance of Your Retirement Portfolio (Basic Books, 2010)
Jack M. Balkin, The Laws of Change: I Ching and the Philosophy of Life (2d Edition, Sybil Creek Press 2009)
Brian Z. Tamanaha, Beyond the Formalist-Realist Divide: The Role of Politics in Judging (Princeton University Press 2009)
Andrew Koppelman and Tobias Barrington Wolff, A Right to Discriminate?: How the Case of Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale Warped the Law of Free Association (Yale University Press 2009)
Jack M. Balkin and Reva B. Siegel, The Constitution in 2020 (Oxford University Press 2009)
Heather K. Gerken, The Democracy Index: Why Our Election System Is Failing and How to Fix It (Princeton University Press 2009)
Mary Dudziak, Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall's African Journey (Oxford University Press 2008)
David Luban, Legal Ethics and Human Dignity (Cambridge Univ. Press 2007)
Ian Ayres, Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers is the New Way to be Smart (Bantam 2007)
Jack M. Balkin, James Grimmelmann, Eddan Katz, Nimrod Kozlovski, Shlomit Wagman and Tal Zarsky, eds., Cybercrime: Digital Cops in a Networked Environment (N.Y.U. Press 2007)
Jack M. Balkin and Beth Simone Noveck, The State of Play: Law, Games, and Virtual Worlds (N.Y.U. Press 2006)
Andrew Koppelman, Same Sex, Different States: When Same-Sex Marriages Cross State Lines (Yale University Press 2006)
Brian Tamanaha, Law as a Means to an End (Cambridge University Press 2006)
Sanford Levinson, Our Undemocratic Constitution (Oxford University Press 2006)
Mark Graber, Dred Scott and the Problem of Constitutional Evil (Cambridge University Press 2006)
Jack M. Balkin, ed., What Roe v. Wade Should Have Said (N.Y.U. Press 2005)
Sanford Levinson, ed., Torture: A Collection (Oxford University Press 2004)
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