September 10, 2011

USHA RODRIGUES: Scamlaw: Paternalism vs. Prudence.

It is wrong for law schools to lie. About anything in general, and about placement statistics in particular. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I’m in favor of the Law School Transparency Project. Like I tell my students: lying is bad. Courts don’t like it, law schools shouldn’t do it, and you shouldn’t do it, either.

OK, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, the gravamen of the LawScam beef seems to be that students are incurring crippling debt and can’t get jobs that will make that debt manageable. I think that this is a bad situation. I feel bad about it. Even though, as I blogged 2 years ago, I think that state law schools in general–and Georgia Law in particular–come out looking pretty good. . . . Law schools are a form of social sorting. If you likewise agree, that means doing away with T3 and T4 schools means doing away with access to the legal profession for a whole swath of people. Maybe most of them shouldn’t be lawyers in the first place. That argument has lots of resonance now–and forever if you think, like Larry Ribstein, that the legal market is permanently changing. But if the market shifts again, and lawyers are back in demand, then without these T3 and T4 schools, there will be a lot of people with their noses pressed up against the glass, clamoring to be lawyers and mad that they can’t be.

I’m inclined to agree with Ribstein, but this is a good point. Meanwhile, they’re having a whole symposium on the topic over at The Conglomerate, so just keep scrolling.

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