Two of ’em.
(1) University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos, “Served: How Law Schools Completely Misrepresent Their Job Numbers,” in The New Republic, and, “The Law School Employment Crisis,” in Lawyers, Guns and Money
A fresh law professor has cast his two cents into the “Legal Education Crisis” bucket, Paul Campos of the University of Colorado. While his TNR article should shed some visibility on the issue, I was disappointed Professor Campos didn’t do a whole lot of research or add value to the existing discussion. Like, there wasn’t even a link to David Segal’s January NYT piece, which, regardless of your opinion of it, really is the least you can do.
The other reason I’m unthrilled by his articles is that they don’t mention the juris doctor overproduction problem. One of the best things about the Cryn Johannsen-moderated panel, “JD in the New Economy: Multiple Perspectives,” was that it got law professors and deans to move beyond bromides on the need for transparency to openly talking about the attorney overproduction problem. This is a significant move because even a year ago the “Crisis” collection plate contained Lincoln-heads dismissing the whole thing out of hand. For example, Jack Crittenden’s “A Wise Investment?” in which the author lays out the classic bottleneck argument—the claim that all law graduates will be employed when the economy recovers and tuition increases are caused by inefficient law schools hiring excess faculty. I don’t know about other “Crisis” depositors, but that’s been debunked by federal government data. I’m impressed that the discussion has moved at all.
Still, I welcome another law professor who’s on the right side of the debate.
All of this suggests the extent to which prospective law students need more and better information. Of course, such information will make law school look like a far worse investment than it does at present. Still, if we assume that the point of academic work is to reveal the truth, rather than to engage in the defense of a professional cartel from which law professors benefit more than almost anyone else, then this work needs to be done.
I mentioned this website a few weeks ago, but now its webcasts from its April 5 teach-in are online. Check ‘em out if you have the time. I can’t vouch for them as I haven’t seen them, but they’ll be better than anything that came out of the Simpson-Bowles Commission.