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Forbes article on law school restructuring

Interesting take on the failure of law schools to deliver a ibrslave05/15/17
Would not the new oversight organization be just as corrupt? adamb05/15/17
My brother and sister are both surgeons. Comparing and cont jd4hire05/15/17
Let's not forget the ABA only matters for accreditation, it' lazlo05/15/17
One caveat: the AMA is not the organization that accredits patenttrollnj05/15/17
The ABA doesn't accredit law schools, the ABA Section on Leg dingbat05/15/17
But, isn't the ABA Section on Legal Education still part of patenttrollnj05/15/17
There's a difference between restricting access to inflate s downwardslope05/15/17
This article fails to acknowledge the "glut" of attorneys. patenttrollnj05/15/17
Credited. When we say there are too many attorneys, what tha lazlo05/15/17
ibrslave (May 15, 2017 - 10:31 am)

Interesting take on the failure of law schools to deliver a quality education at an affordable price.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/markcohen1/2017/05/15/law-schools-must-restructure-it-wont-be-easy/#43bc4dd33d3f. I agree with the major points made by the author, but I don't necessarily agree with all the required courses he suggests. Isn't that how we got to where we are? Also, get rid of the ABA. The ABA is useless to me and pretty much every attorney I know. Maybe that's because the ABA works for Big Law and the law school administrators who have been profiting for so long on the current broken system. I don't know who should regulate/oversee law schools, but the ABA is a BIG part of the problems we're seeing in law schools.

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adamb (May 15, 2017 - 10:35 am)

Would not the new oversight organization be just as corrupt? Is not the American way letting special interests take control of everything?

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jd4hire (May 15, 2017 - 10:42 am)

My brother and sister are both surgeons. Comparing and contrasting the ABA v. the AMA is an interesting exercise. The AMA helped limit the proliferation of law schools to keep doctor supply in high demand thereby warranting higher salaries. There are certainly differences in the overhead required for each respective school, but the proliferation of law schools from the 50s on is a huge issue and the ABA just kept accrediting and encouraging.

Further, the ABA is terrible at lobbying for lawyer interests. I can't tell you the number of random perks docs get. Access to preferential mortgage lending programs (in addition to the hospital's in house mortgage broker for employees), the various rural job programs, the fact that PILF applies to doctors working in "non-profit" hospitals when making 200 -350k, the lack of interest accruing during residency/fellowships, etc.

When they told me that they thought they'd qualify for PILF I nearly puked and then passed out. I get extremely angry when talking about student loans with them, or income, enjoyment of their respective jobs, etc. Both are those people who say "I genuinely enjoy what I do and look forward to going to work..." Que shooting myself in the face!

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lazlo (May 15, 2017 - 12:45 pm)

Let's not forget the ABA only matters for accreditation, it's the individual state Supreme Courts that actually set the standards as to who is eligible to practice law. If we really want to make changes for law school restructuring, the courts need to set the direction; chances are they won't, unfortunately.

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patenttrollnj (May 15, 2017 - 1:32 pm)

One caveat: the AMA is not the organization that accredits medical schools, whereas the ABA does accredit law schools.

Medical schools are accredited by something called the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, which is co-sponsored by the AMA and the Association of American Medical Colleges (the organization that creates the MCAT). I think this balance has somehow kept the number of medical schools in check. Of course, nowadays they're circumventing this entirely with Osteopathic medical schools, but that's another story.

With the ABA, the interests of donors and biglaw to have a cheep supply of expendable attorneys has tainted their accreditation process. This may not have happened if a third party (that had to account for other interests, besides those of biglaw) were responsible for law school accreditation.

Also, the above article brings-up the point that "... state Bars proscribe licensure and practice requirements." Well, this point is completely irrelevant, seeing that states license ALL professions, anything from hairstylist to neurosurgeon. Further, states do not limit the number of people in these professions, all they do is merely verify that individuals can do what is required .... but they do not care how many individuals are actually licensed to do it.

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dingbat (May 15, 2017 - 2:40 pm)

The ABA doesn't accredit law schools, the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar is the accrediting agency.

that's a huge difference. Accrediting agencies are required to be independent of the profession, and cannot allow the profession to enact protectionist policies.

Restricting access also brings up anti-trust issues, and it's worth noting that the ABA is subject to a consent decree because they were restricting access. Don't know why the AMA and ADA aren't subject to one. I know the AMA has flirted close to one, but googling ADA and Consent Decree gives very different results

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patenttrollnj (May 15, 2017 - 3:31 pm)

But, isn't the ABA Section on Legal Education still part of the ABA? It doesn't seem to be a separate entity. In fact, the ABA webpage states that one of the tasks handled by the ABA is to accredit law schools.

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downwardslope (May 15, 2017 - 7:44 pm)

There's a difference between restricting access to inflate salaries and restricting access to ensure that the people hoping to enter the profession can actually learn the skills necessary to do the job. At this point, we're seeing ABA-accredited schools with first-time bar passage rates under 1/3 and it's only going to get worse as subsequent classes start to take the bar exam.

Contrast this to the medical profession where the passage rates for American medical/osteopathic schools have pass rates of 95-96% on the USMLE and similar percentages of interested med school students are able to match, even if they aren't able to get their first choice. Even if they aren't matched, they still have a second shot. Imagine if they went through med school and couldn't pass the USMLE or only 50% were matching? At this point, the doctor shortage is more at the residency level than the school level. The number of med school slots won't increase unless the available residency slots also increase. It takes time and resources to develop those programs because it's not like you just develop a generic residency program. You may have to add internal medicine slots and add two or three types of fellowships to meet several shortages, and that sort of development takes time.

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patenttrollnj (May 15, 2017 - 10:46 am)

This article fails to acknowledge the "glut" of attorneys. Sorry, but any discussion about law school reform must begin by acknowledging this fact.

Second, the author has too positive an opinion of the ABA, and somehow seems to think that the ABA is concerned about law students. WRONG!!

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lazlo (May 15, 2017 - 6:36 pm)

Credited. When we say there are too many attorneys, what that means is that there is an oversupply of lawyers compared to the demand for ***paid*** legal representation. Emphasis on paid, because it's irrelevant how much 'need' there is for legal services, if those people can't pay for it. Medicine is fundamentally different because as has been said here before, there is third-party payment for medical care, and people see a need to pay for health insurance, when there is no equivalent need for 'legal' insurance.

Law schools are in trouble now because more prospective students understand how difficult it's becoming to make a living as an attorney. This led to the crash in enrollment, to which they responded by cutting class sizes and dropping admission requirements. The decline in bar passage rates is the direct result, and unless that changes more schools are going to go under. A law school can poo-poo / lie about employment statistics all they want, but if their bar passage rates are subpar there are only 2 explanations: they were incompetent in teaching the law, or they admitted students who can't pass the bar. Either way, it means they need to be shut down, because they are fundamentally failing at their reason for existing.

So any talk about 'reforming' law school is really just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic: the select few for whom pursuing a legal career is still financially worthwhile do not benefit from or even need any of these law school reforms (except lower cost). For everyone else, these changes do nothing to help them find paid jobs after graduating.

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