Day: 2010/06/09

Bottleneck Attack!

I dove right in to drawing the connection b’ween the number of law schools and the tuition bubble.  Then I realized that I really hadn’t sufficiently distinguished bubbles from bottlenecks and got bogged down.  I apologize for delaying your numbers-crunched, but fumbling through this post helped me crystallize my opinions on this project.

Bottleneck and bubble both try to explain rising law school tuition.  They accept cost-benefit analyses of legal education’s value (e.g. Schlunk), though bottleneckers emphasize non-monetary benefits to those earning below the break-even starting salary.  The term “bottleneck” refers to the upfront costs of entering the legal labor market that eventually pay off.  I call the argument for those who do not accept cost-benefit analyses “denial.”

Why is the bottleneck problem important?  The bottleneck is the only sophisticated argument opposing this blog’s premise, which is why I addressed it in my first substantive postThe debate is between time and space.  The bottlenecker believes in time law school can pay off, just with a few tweaks to the system; the bubbler believes that the legal education system’s size must be reduced to match the legal market’s needs before legal education becomes valuable again.

The bottleneck summarized: (more…)