Deborah Thornton, “Law School: A Great Devourer,” in the Iowa Press-Citizen
Here’s the The Public Interest Institute’s full Policy Study
I normally don’t agree with limited government advocates, but it looks like they’ve done their research on the law schools. Interestingly, on page 7, the Policy Study produces BLS data showing that the economy will add 98,500 jobs AND that replacement needs will create 141,900 lawyer positions for a total of 240,400 lawyer jobs between 2008 and 2018, which I didn’t know how to find until now.
Adding to Thornton’s analysis, in that time period the ABA schools will have produced at least 439,624 new juris doctor holders (43,588 in 2008 + 44,0004 x 9 years). Excluding underemployed attorneys and non-ABA grads, the ratio will be one graduate for every 1.83 lawyer jobs, implying a minimum 55% reduction in graduates to lower the ratio to 1:1. The law school equivalent would be 90 out of 199 schools (I exclude the JAG school).
After addressing Iowa’s situation, Thornton provides four alternatives for prospective law students (32-34):
- Become a paralegal and see if law school is worthwhile given the low number of new jobs
- “Read” the law in a state that allows it (California, Maine, New York,Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming)
- Attend law school part time
- Law school transparency
I don’t have time to read the full study, but I would think limited government proponents would consider student lending reform as a policy solution to say nothing of shutting down scores of law schools. Iowans considering law school should definitely give the study a look.