Questioning law schools’ role

by Walter Olson on August 3, 2014

In Schools for Misrule, I had positive things to say about the “reading law” or apprenticeship alternative to law schools, and the New York Times “Room for Debate” feature now runs a roundtable on that question with contributors that include Brian Tamanaha, David Lat, and Erwin Chemerinsky. Much deeper disruption than that may lay ahead: “Within ten years, MOOCs [massive open online courses] could replace traditional law school classes altogether, except at a few elite law schools” [Philip Schrag via TaxProf] And are law schools pro-cyclical? The state of Florida saw a steeper boom and deeper bust in legal services than the rest of the country; it doesn’t seem to have helped that five new law schools have opened lately in the state, or that many Florida law schools succeed in placing fewer than half of their grads in paying positions for which bar passage is required. [TaxProf]

{ 1 comment }

1 jdgalt 08.03.14 at 12:19 pm

I predict that it won’t be just law schools. The whole 4-year university system is so deeply plagued with leftist and nanny-statist ideology, “affirmative action”, sky-high prices driven by federal aid, and bankruptcy-proof federal student loans, that it’s no longer worthwhile for just about anybody. The job-market value of a degree has tanked, and it would take reforms that the feds will never allow before it can ever recover.

So very soon now, the federal government will be trying energetically to prop up the dying industry of higher education just as it is now trying to save the newspaper industry from obsolescence — with about the same results.

Is it just me, or are they reinventing the Soviet Union, and badly?

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