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|
|8||New Jersey (3)||8,693,723||6,663||766.42|
|9||Rhode Island (1)||1,057,451||804||760.32|
|23||New Hampshire (1)||1,322,181||634||479.51|
|26||West Virginia (1)||1,821,290||825||452.98|
|30||South Carolina (2)||4,554,258||1,931||424.00|
|34||North Carolina (7)||9,357,107||3,663||391.47|
|45||New Mexico (1)||2,007,315||623||310.36|
|49||South Dakota (1)||810,814||202||249.13|
|51||North Dakota (1)||645,903||142||219.85|
(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.
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.