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“There’s Going To Be A Lot of Blood Spilled”

 

Via Jason Wilson:

  • “Legal employers aren’t hiring very much – that’s the problem.”
  • “Cost is the thing.”
  • “In the next 3-4 months, we are going to see a crisis hit law schools that will be many times greater than the crisis in legal education that prompted the creation of this task force in the first place…there’s going to be a lot of blood spilled.

Reconsidering the Conventional Wisdom on the Legal Job Market

In contrast to the problems in the above video, Benjamin Barros (Widener), made a post at the Faculty Lounge entitled Reconsidering the Convential Wisdom on the Legal Job Market:

Over the past year or so, a conventional wisdom has developed about the status of the legal job market.  This conventional wisdom has at least three components:   (1) Recent graduates are getting law jobs at distressingly low levels.  (2) The legal job market is undergoing a profound structural change.  (3) The lousy job market is a reflection of these long-term changes, and is not just a product of a recession and slow recovery.

In this and subsequent posts, I will push back against certain aspects of this conventional wisdom.  At the outset, however, I want to be very clear about what I am NOT arguing.  I am not arguing that the current legal job market is great – it is not.

So who’s correct? The conventional wisdom or Barros?

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About Keith Lee

I'm the founder and editor of Associate's Mind. I like to write, talk, and think about law, professional development, technology, and whatever else floats my boat. I practice law in Birmingham, AL.

3 comments

  1. I read the post.  Barros needs to consult with a statistician to improve the methodology of his data gathering and conclusions.  Although I value his attempt, his methodology is flawed and unrepresentative of the general new JD marketplace.  Further he proposes some interesting measures but I don’t think they will dramatically alter the cost of law school nor increase the employment prospects of new attorneys.  There are two proposals that would face less resistance by the ABA and likely be approved, that could cut costs dramatically and likely lead to more employment for a moderate amount of time:
    1) The LLB program- A bachelors in law degree program that would qualify one to take the bar and be admitted into the Bar.  Keep the three years of law school just eliminate the requirement to have 3 or more prior years of college.  It brings down both debt levels and time expenditure for the law students, while maintaining the basic operational structures of the Law Schools. They would need to work out the entrance requirements and pricing but it seems like a much better option than 2 years.  Many other countries, such as England, actually have bachelors in law programs and the Law School program resemble a bachelors degree programs more than a doctorate program.
    2) Unbundle the Bar Exam from JD passage- Keep the Bar Exam passage and 3 year legal education requirement but don’t make them interdependent. Allow Prospective Lawyers to take the Bar Exam when ever they feel that they can pass it. So whether it be prior to law school, during law school, or after law school.  Many would likely take it either during the summer of the 2L or as during the school year as a 3L and be better prepared to enter the work force immediately after graduation. This measure would eliminate much of the uncertainty that comes with the licensing of new lawyers and law students would like be better able to secure financing for their bar exam than new graduates.

  2. Also requiring introductory economics and business courses would be highly valuable for law students.  Most economic concepts are counterintuitive and it would be helpful for the attorneys to receive actually training. Oversupply is a good example.  Oversupply is a consequence of overpricing and leads to non-consumption of available services.  In the legal context their are lots of legal services being offered, but because supplier prices are so high prospective clients are purchasing them, i.e. the access to justice gap.  If lawyers lowered their prices and advertised more the oversupply problem and access to justice gap would be eliminated.  Lawyers don’t receive enough training in business and economics in order to identify this opportunity, nor take advantage of it.  Technological unbundling services don’t have to be the solution either, just better business management and sophisticated pricing methods.

    • BCReed I agree that a lack of basic business understanding is a huge gap for most law students. I’d love to see law schools partner with B schools and have some basic business training become parter of the law school curriculum.

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