Inside the Law School Scam beat up on Cooley’s dean, Don LeDuc for warning about a sudden shortage of lawyers in Michigan brought on by retiring lawyers.
Fortunately, the Washtenaw County Legal News quotes a bunch of people who disagree. He-said-she-said isn’t as good as BLS numbers, but some of the quotes are very much on the mark and sound persuasive, making it more of a he-said-but-they-said-he’s-very-very-wrong-and-the-paper-agrees-if-you-read-between-the-lines.
“I understand that law schools like Cooley want to create the image that there is job availability in the legal market because their graduates are struggling to get jobs and law school graduates struggling to find employment is bad for business. However, I would not tell potential students that the aging legal population will translate into jobs. I have seen that theory proven false. When I started as a lawyer 10 years ago, after graduating from Cooley, I made the foolish assumption that these lawyers I saw in their fifties, sixties and seventies, would be retiring. Ten years later, they are in their sixties, seventies and eighties, and I work with them every day.”
The Washtenaw County Legal News could’ve thought things through a little bit and shown that the quoted attorney above is correct.
(1) Michigan can easily import attorneys from other states. There are many law school graduates from nearby states that would practice there if the opportunity arose.
(2) Michigan’s population has hovered around 9-10 million since 1972 (40 years!), which is around the time Cooley opened. More law graduates for the same population is a solid indicator that there won’t be a shortage.
(3) No one seems to be asking why a profession like law would start aging and what it means. It tells me that (a) experience matters for legal services, and (b) there hasn’t been new demand for lawyers in the state for a while. There’s just as much reason to suspect that many retiring attorneys won’t need to be replaced at all.