Indiana Tech Utterly Irresponsibly Predicts A Future Attorney Shortage

I was merrily sojourning the Internet when I came across the blood-soaked battlefield testifying to a pitched fight between J-Dog and Indiana Tech.

The Committee cherry-picks sources, and egregiously so, to the level of intellectual dishonesty. If this report were peer-reviewed, it would be rejected by anyone with two brain cells and a Google search box. The fact that it’s an official-sounding report from a university makes it all the more embarrassing.

Why J-Dog, what on earth did this innocent university do to you to deserve such ghastly bludgeoning and violent dismemberment? Wiping blood off his weapon, he gestures with link to Indiana Tech’s feasibility study justifying opening a new law school. Looking at one portion of this piece, dismemberment was justified.

However, absent dramatic change in the way law is currently practiced and given the dynamics of the national demand for legal education, the United States may need to import foreign lawyers or increase the outsourcing of legal work to foreign lawyers in their home countries to meet this country’s projected demand for legal services. (Page 9, pdf page 17, emphasis LSTB)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! IMPORT FOREIGN LAWYERS?? Oh God. How did they come to this astonishingly absurd conclusion? Let’s chuck a few shuriken into the carcass J-Dog mutilated by looking at “Chapter II: The Need for New Lawyers.” Here are some targets.

(1)  “The market for new law schools, and for legal education generally, involves a complex interplay between the need for lawyers and the demand for legal education.” (Page 3, pdf page 11, emphasis original)

FALSE: The market for new law schools solely depends on demand for legal education. It is wholly divorced from demand for legal services. If there were a connection, enrollments would drop in half starting this fall, probably more to account for the large number of Juris Doctor-holders who aren’t employed as lawyers (cyclically or otherwise).

(2)  “The growth of law firms, accompanied by bright job prospects for new law graduates over the two decades proceeding the recent global recession, was evidence of a growing need for lawyers.” (Page 4, pdf page 12).

FALSE: Of the legal profession in 1994, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated, “The supply of persons trained as lawyers should continue to exceed job openings … As in the past, some graduates may have to accept positions in areas outside their field of interest or for which they feel they are overqualified.”

(3)  “Today the economy is recovering.” (Page 5, pdf page 13).

FALSE: According to the most recent Bureau of Economic Analysis press release, “Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 1.9 percent in the first quarter of 2011.”

(4)   “Today a useful model for visualizing the relative need for lawyers over time can be created by dividing the number of lawyers into our gross domestic product (GDP) and charting the results.” (Page 5, pdf page 13)

FALSE: Nonsense. Just looking at real legal sector output over time demonstrates the the lack of relative need for lawyers. For Indiana here’s a better idea, divide legal sector output by state by state population to get spending on legal services per capita. Go BEA data.

# STATE (No. ABA Law Schools) 2009 POPULATION 2009 LEGAL SECTOR OUTPUT ($MILLIONS) LEGAL SECTOR OUTPUT/CAPITA ($)
1 District of Columbia (6) 599,975 9,972 16,620.69
2 New York (15) 19,522,612 32,213 1,650.04
3 Delaware (1) 884,124 1,071 1,211.37
4 Illinois (9) 12,893,278 15,458 1,198.92
5 Massachusetts (7)* 6,592,205 7,056 1,070.36
6 California (20)* 36,887,615 31,273 847.79
7 Pennsylvania (8) 12,602,112 10,333 819.94
8 New Jersey (3) 8,693,723 6,663 766.42
9 Rhode Island (1) 1,057,451 804 760.32
10 Connecticut (3) 3,514,826 2,670 759.64
11 Florida (11) 18,509,936 13,235 715.02
12 Louisiana (4) 4,489,490 2,911 648.40
13 Maryland (2) 5,688,399 3,646 640.95
14 Georgia (5) 9,813,588 6,178 629.54
15 Minnesota (4) 5,262,824 3,311 629.13
16 Washington (3) 6,671,597 4,129 618.89
17 Texas (9) 24,770,651 14,704 593.61
18 Missouri (4) 5,982,234 3,487 582.89
19 Virginia (8) 7,862,480 4,563 580.35
20 Colorado (2) 5,015,155 2,830 564.29
21 Nevada (1) 2,638,588 1,349 511.26
22 Hawaii (1) 1,288,285 638 495.23
23 New Hampshire (1) 1,322,181 634 479.51
24 Maine (1) 1,315,889 598 454.45
25 Alabama (3)* 4,707,496 2,139 454.38
26 West Virginia (1) 1,821,290 825 452.98
27 Oregon (3) 3,823,058 1,725 451.21
28 Vermont (1) 621,436 279 448.96
29 Ohio (9) 11,531,860 5,046 437.57
30 South Carolina (2) 4,554,258 1,931 424.00
31 Oklahoma (3) 3,685,640 1,549 420.28
32 Wisconsin (2) 5,650,751 2,326 411.63
33 Michigan (5) 9,955,260 3,986 400.39
34 North Carolina (7) 9,357,107 3,663 391.47
35 Tennessee (3)* 6,291,220 2,460 391.02
36 Nebraska (2) 1,794,852 700 390.00
37 Arizona (3) 6,587,653 2,548 386.78
38 Mississippi (2) 2,949,943 1,128 382.38
39 Kentucky (3) 4,312,268 1,542 357.58
40 Utah (2) 2,780,871 945 339.82
41 Montana (1) 974,163 331 339.78
42 Wyoming (1) 544,391 181 332.48
43 Indiana (4) 6,417,276 2,131 332.07
44 Iowa (2) 3,008,331 959 318.78
45 New Mexico (1) 2,007,315 623 310.36
46 Kansas (2) 2,817,430 791 280.75
47 Alaska (0) 694,690 186 267.75
48 Arkansas (2) 2,887,331 720 249.37
49 South Dakota (1) 810,814 202 249.13
50 Idaho (1) 1,544,465 384 248.63
51 North Dakota (1) 645,903 142 219.85
USA 306,656,290 219,167 714.70

(Note: This table does not imply that D.C. (much less anywhere else) has an attorney shortage, just that a lot of legal work is done there relative to its tiny population. The Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia combined statistical area had a population of 8.5 million in 2010, so much of the D.C. legal output is diffused among its neighbors, but it’s still a lot. Comparisons become more useful past jurisdictions that see unusual qualities or quantities of economic activity, esp. the Northeast. Although, that might be the problem with legal services in America…)

Notice how Indiana is near the bottom with $332.07 in legal spending per capita. That means it’s a small market for private legal services. It’s also an unusual one. It’s more populous and has more law schools than its immediate neighbors. It’s the 16th most populous state overall, yet it has the lowest legal output per capita of the 30 most populous ones. Even if there weren’t already a JD surplus, these are reasons to close law schools in Indiana, not open more.

(5)  “One can conclude that as long as GDP per lawyer exceeds $11 million in constant 2005 dollars, there will be a healthy demand for legal services.” (Page 15, pdf page 7)

FALSE: Indiana Tech made this number up. It should be measuring real legal sector output, but if it did, it’d find the sclerotic legal sector means no new law schools are necessary.

(6)  “The American Bar Association reported national lawyer populations of 1,018,000 in 2000 and 1,180,856 in 2009 … the average increase in the number of lawyers during this time was about 18,000, or less than 1.8% of a base lawyer population that is in excess of 1,000,000. GDP … is now projected to exceed 3 percent in growth in 2011. It can be difficult to focus on and comprehend the relevance of these trends, but it is worth the effort.” (Page 7, pdf page 15)

FALSE: It is not worthwhile to focus on the number of “active and resident” attorneys, outside of academic pursuits such as my own. Rather, the number of law degrees conferred and employed attorneys is worth focusing on. Since Indiana Tech uses a 35-year time horizon, I shall too.

I suspect the 35-year law degrees rate actually crosses the employment line around 1980.

We find that there have been ample law degrees in the economy for many years, which suggests that it should be easier to bring one of them back into practice than to train new ones. Indiana and its neighbors have plenty. In 2008, Indiana had 3,824 “idle attorneys” (attorneys “active and resident” but not employed as lawyers according to state government data). Illinois had 23,179, Michigan 13,101, Ohio 16,784, and Kentucky 5,366. If Indiana needs lawyers so badly, it could easily import from its neighbors at near zero cost.

I believe J-Dog eviscerated the rest as I can read no more.

If Indiana Tech were serious about considering a law school before importing foreign lawyers, it would (a) look at my law graduate overproduction page and conclude that there is no Shangri-La in America that desperately needs attorneys, and (b) check the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s website and find that it projects 340 job openings annually while the LSAC reports that Indiana’s law schools conferred 846 JDs in the 2009-2010 academic year.

If there are more grads than job openings, then there is no need for a new law school.

846 grads is more than 340 annual job openings.

Therefore there is no need for a law school.

Quod Erat Demonstrandum

This concludes our shuriken chucking.

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9 Responses

  1. Christ, I didn’t even catch the “import” line. My jaw hit the floor when I read the GDP/lawyer stuff. I’m happy you found an even better metric in legal services output, and I think it’s telling that you found even more to rip Part 2 for after I spent a good thousand words on it.

    I really didn’t set out to dismember, slash, shurkien-chuck, eviscerate, or slaughter, but I see how it may come off that way given the glaring methodological flaws, mistaken assumptions, and inconsistent statements at issue. Glad to see you found it fun enough to join in.

  2. Great work, guys. I laugh when I see “law professors” toss out the old 35-year career canard. This is the exception. Most leave the law, after a few years. MANY never get their foot in the door. Again, these pigs reached their $elf-intere$ted conclusion first, and then attempted to reason backwards. It is clear that they did not consider any contra facts. They want a cash cow/law school, so having a law school is a good idea. How is that for lucid reasoning and logic?!

  3. Thank you so much for fighting this. It makes me sick to my stomach to see such lies. I am from a different part of Indiana, but this is such an embarrassment. There is no excuse for Indiana Tech.

    I don’t have a law degree, but I feel like I barely escaped the law school scam path, instead I opted for an MPA from Indiana University. I was supposed to be a joint MPA-JD student in theory, but because it was cheaper, I started out as only an MPA student. I had a paid internship for the MPA, so I was lucky. 21 hours of my MPA is actually law school classes charged at the cheaper graduate school rate, but the classes are exactly the same. While working on the MPA, I realized how screwed up the law school system really is and that there were too few jobs for lawyers in Indiana and that most lawyers are poorly paid in Indiana. So I escaped right before officially entering law school, but it was really close.

    Indiana was oversaturated with lawyers a decade ago, and it has only gotten a lot worse. While, I totally support the law school scam bloggers and know that you all speak the truth, I can say from personal experience and personal research, that Indiana definitely does not need another law school.

  4. This is disgusting and shameful on the part of Indiana Tech! They rationalize themselves to a ridiculous conclusion: a need for ANOTHER law school. In my opinion, the president and every member of the board who voted for a law school should be fired! How many unemployed and underemployed lawyers are there from well-established, national universities? Why then would anyone hire a graduate from (a) a brand new law school and (b) from a college that is either regional or local (I had never even heard of Indiana Tech)? Shame on them! This is a joke (again, my opinion…I’d like to say more but I have to be careful because Cooley Law School has filed a lawsuit against a blogger).

    I HAVE THE PERFECT IDEA… CAN I HAVE SOME FRENCH FRIES WITH MY JD?

  5. A law dean in Minnesota tried to defend his law school by suggesting that a person in an HR department would be able to speak with a lawyer better if they had a JD. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This completely unimpressive dean actually said something like that! An obvious retort: I guess a nurse should get an MD to be able to speak better with a physician???

    A JD is now so useless that law deans cannot even give a good explanation for their existence. You should hear the very unimpressive (my opinion) Cooley Law Dean from the relatively new Grand Rapids satellite campus (or whatever they call their far flung new operations) give, in my opinion, a pathetic explanation as to why Cooley needs so many branch campuses. Sad. Shameful. Pathetic. Irresponsible. Well, it’s my opinion and I have a right to say my opinion whether Cooley likes it or not!

  6. COME ON ABA, DO SOMETHING TO STOP THE MADNESS! IT’S MADNESS TO HAVE SO MANY LAW SCHOOLS PUMPING OUT SO MANY LAW GRADUATES INTO AN ALREADY GROSSLY OVERCROWDED LEGAL AND LAW RELATED MARKET. If the ABA is afraid of an antitrust suit then get out of the accreditation business. The individual states should play a role in closing lower ranked state (public) law schools. A Norther Illinois Law Grad who was running for office last year called for the State of Illinois to close his alma mater and Southern Illinois Law School. He reminded all of us that Illinois did just fine with only one state school 35 years ago. Someone has to have the courage to stop the madness. Even good law schools need to dramatically trim the ranks. Hold your school accountable to reduce its size, or if you went to a lower ranked school, thoughtfully consider encouraging its closer as best for the profession and, more importantly, society (too many lawyers is never good for a free people).

  7. @Steve, that is almost funny about the law dean in Minnesota and HR departments. By the way of government, I actually worked in law for several years WITHOUT a law degree. Most of the people that wrote the legal briefs where I worked were people like me who did not have a law degree. Lawyers themselves don’t necessarily use other lawyers to communicate with other lawyers in the legal field. So why would a HR department need a lawyer to talk to other lawyers, when it is not even necessary in the legal field itself. Unreal!

  8. O’H MY GOODNESS! COOLEY LAW SCHOOL IS NOW OPENING A CHAIN IN FLORIDA. YES, I SAID CHAIN. JUST LIKE A FAST FOOD RESTAURANT CHAIN!!! It is disgusting and utterly irresponsible. Can I have some fries with my JD? THE LAW DEGREE IS BECOMING A WORTHLESS DIME FOR A DOZEN DEGREE! The ABA granted Cooley’s Florida Chain accreditation – COWARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. COOLEY ACTUALLY CLAIMS THAT FLORIDA, WITH 11 LAW SCHOOLS IS “UNDERSERVED.” WHO ARE THEY KIDDING!!!! THE DEAN JUSTIFIED ITS FLORIDA CHAIN BY COMPLAINING ABOUT HIS OWN STATE’S ECONOMY!

    DID I MENTION THAT COOLEY IS BEING SUED FOR FRAUD TO THE TUNE OF: $250,000,000.00 IN A POSSIBLE CLASS ACTION SUIT ALREADY FILED!!!!!! DID THE ABA TAKE NOTE? HOW ABOUT OTHER SIMILAR LAW SCHOOLS?

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