Remembering TCPaul, 2016-2019

Meeting unmet legal needs is the focus of 2019 ABA Day

http://www.abajournal.com/news/arti cle/meeting-unmet-legal-n hankhill04/12/19
they don't pay dues....so screw them. jdcumlaude04/12/19
Not so many of any sort of attorneys pay dues. If you look wutwutwut04/12/19
Well in all fairness, there really is no shortage of need fo onehell04/12/19
LSC absolutely does need to be protected and grown, but that onehell04/12/19
The ABA is essentially a lobbying organization for two group flharfh04/12/19
ABA's accreditation division definitely has a regulatory cap onehell04/12/19
The AMA has no problem keeping the supply of new doctors so flharfh04/12/19
The trouble there is that the AMA can easily justify require onehell04/12/19
It's not the AMA. It's the residency cap. There are only so cocksman04/12/19
Well, the medicare thing isn't really a "cap" so much as it onehell04/12/19
The ABA could easily require accredited law schools to meet legalace04/12/19
Agreed - the requirements the ABA does enforce are arbitrary flharfh04/12/19
Absolutely agree with respect to bar passage and graduation onehell04/15/19
The ABA is the biggest POS organization I've ever seen. Who oddis50004/12/19
Putting (other people’s) money where your mouth is can be dupednontraditional04/13/19
Yeah, people hate lawyers and are hostile to them, so when p onehell04/15/19
I have a bunch of doctor and dentist friends. They, and they demwave04/13/19
MDs in the United States hate the idea of single payer becau flharfh04/13/19
Yes. The faculty of even commodious law schools have a good williamdrayton04/14/19
No profession is worth it anymore because of globalization a wearyattorney04/13/19
Unmet needs = doesn't pay enough jeffm04/14/19
Right. I hear third tier law school professors talk about themapmaster04/15/19
It doesn't necessarily have to be gov't paid attorneys. Ther superttthero04/15/19

hankhill (Apr 12, 2019 - 9:44 am)

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/meeting-unmet-legal-needs-focus-of-2019-aba-day/?utm_source=maestro&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly_email.

The most pressing issue for ABA members as they go to Capitol Hill is funding for Legal Services. What about unemployed JDs with six figure debts?!

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jdcumlaude (Apr 12, 2019 - 9:59 am)

they don't pay dues....so screw them.

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wutwutwut (Apr 12, 2019 - 11:30 am)

Not so many of any sort of attorneys pay dues. If you look at the ABA financial statements over the years, dues revenue has been falling, falling, falling as the ABA becomes less and less relevant to many attorneys.

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onehell (Apr 12, 2019 - 2:54 pm)

Well in all fairness, there really is no shortage of need for lawyers, just a shortage of demand. Regular everyday people cannot pay $200+/hr out of pocket, and you don't have a right to a lawyer in a civil case which is precisely the gap LSC tries to fill, but their funding is so scant that it's like trying to bail out the ocean with a small plastic beach bucket.

Before the advent of health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, there was a glut of doctors too. They used to make house calls and often had to resort to barter to get paid.

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onehell (Apr 12, 2019 - 12:25 pm)

LSC absolutely does need to be protected and grown, but that stat about 94% of represented tenants keeping their homes is probably misleading. I don't care whether you are represented or not, not having any money is not a defense to the obligation to pay rent. So while 94% of represented tenants may keep their home, that is because the lawyers take only the cases where there is a defense or a counterclaim or at least some kind of offer to get caught up over time to put on the table.

But over and over again, what I was seeing was people with not one dime of income and the section 8 waitlist is closed. There was simply no case to take and certainly no prospect of "keeping their home."

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flharfh (Apr 12, 2019 - 1:08 pm)

The ABA is essentially a lobbying organization for two groups: law schools and large law firms. As an organization it absolutely doesn't care about T3/4 grads, and in actuality works against their interests by propping up the worst law school offenders through lax rules and lax enforcement, ensuring a saturated job market for new graduates, who are saddled with huge amounts of non-dischargable student loan debt.

If you are an ABA member, you are essentially fundign their lobbying efforts to protect low quality law schools and their ongoing exploitation of their ignorant students.

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onehell (Apr 12, 2019 - 2:20 pm)

ABA's accreditation division definitely has a regulatory capture problem, but if it tried to dictate how many law schools there should be, then they would have an anti-trust problem.

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flharfh (Apr 12, 2019 - 4:49 pm)

The AMA has no problem keeping the supply of new doctors so tight that we have to constantly import physicians from overseas. I don't see why the ABA couldn't have a similar effect, if it wanted too - but that's the difference. The AMA represents actual practicing physicians and accordingly protects their interests, while the ABA represents law schools and law professors and only a tiny fraction of practicing lawyers.

Thus the ABA is incentivized to permit schools to churn out as many JDs as they want, at the expense of other practicing attorneys (the ABA's other interest group, biglaw attorneys, are essentially immune from this labor glut as they don't compete with T3/4 and most t1/2 grads for work or jobs).

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onehell (Apr 12, 2019 - 5:33 pm)

The trouble there is that the AMA can easily justify requirements on quality grounds that are very difficult to meet and which therefore limit the number of medical schools. Also, there are only so many spots in residency programs which are themselves accredited by another organization (ACGME) so that serves as a de facto cap as well.

But the fact is, a law school doesn't really NEED much. Just some classrooms and profs. A medical school needs hospital affiliations and cadavers for the kids to learn anatomy on and all kinds of stuff like that. If anything, what few requirements the ABA does have are getting harder and harder to justify, like the requirement to have a law library that no one uses and the ban on delivering the instruction 100% online. If anything, there's an argument that the ABA is more restrictive than it should be on quality grounds, not less.

And the risk isn't hypothetical. In the mid 90s, ABA did get sued on antitrust grounds by the unaccredited Massachusetts School of Law, for example, and while they didn't win it did prompt the DOJ to start up its own anti-trust lawsuit which resulted in a consent decree requiring them to basically get more public input into the rules development and for 10 years to submit to DOJ any changes and the details of the process by which they were adopted.

The bottom line is simple: An accreditor cannot just say "this is the number of schools that should exist, and we aren't going to allow there to be any more." That is illegal, pure and simple. They can adopt requirements that are expensive to meet and which may thus indirectly restrict supply, but I think it's pretty clear why that would be so much easier to do for medical school than law school.

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cocksman (Apr 12, 2019 - 5:41 pm)

It's not the AMA. It's the residency cap. There are only so many residency slots available, and the number is capped via Medicare reimbursement limits (Balanced Budget Act of 1997). Even if you open 100 new med schools tomorrow, you won't see more doctors for this reason. The same cap does not apply to lawyers - we don't have residencies.

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onehell (Apr 12, 2019 - 5:51 pm)

Well, the medicare thing isn't really a "cap" so much as it just means that hospitals won't get any additional $$$ for adding more spots than they had in 1996. It doesn't prohibit them from adding more spots in the residency program, and some programs have found other funding sources to help them do that, or even just starting up new programs outside of the hospital like at the local FQHC to train primary care people.

But the basic point is right, and I called it out above RE ACGME and residency, but that's a symptom, not a cause. The root cause is the simple fact that law school is 100% classroom instruction (all clinical activities optional) followed by taking a test followed by the immediate issuance of a totally independent license. It's the only profession on Earth where you can practice fully independently, even hang a shingle, without a single hour of actual experience. Pretty hard to justify much in terms of accreditation expectations for something like that, other than bar passage rates which they have been cracking down about somewhat.

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legalace (Apr 12, 2019 - 6:45 pm)

The ABA could easily require accredited law schools to meet meaningful first-time bar exam passage rates, but it has chosen not to do so.

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flharfh (Apr 12, 2019 - 7:30 pm)

Agreed - the requirements the ABA does enforce are arbitrary and barely (if at all) relate to the quality of the school's education or employability of its grads - stuff like facilities/library requirements, limited online courses, byzantine and antiquated regulations regarding faculty and course work, etc.

The ABA only pays lip service to the actual, important metrics - graduation rates, bar passage rates, rate of full time, long term employment in the field after graduation, and the rate of student debt to starting salary.

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onehell (Apr 15, 2019 - 4:04 pm)

Absolutely agree with respect to bar passage and graduation rates. But employment outcomes are simply not something they can take into account, nor are salaries. The purpose of accreditation simply can't be to artificially limit supply in order to boost the pay of graduates.

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oddis500 (Apr 12, 2019 - 3:05 pm)

The ABA is the biggest POS organization I've ever seen. Who do they represent? It certainly is not attorneys. Oh what I would give if we had an organization like the AMA.

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dupednontraditional (Apr 13, 2019 - 10:23 am)

Putting (other people’s) money where your mouth is can be good, but I think the ABA still has no idea what to do about the state of the profession - so much so, in fact, that they think it is “easier” to solve the “unmet legal needs” problem instead. Plus, the PR on the latter generates more virtue-signaling points, which is the actual currency of bureaucrats everywhere. Given a choice between “insolvables” you’ll invest in the one where it looks like you’re doing something every time.

At the risk of sounding like an ogre, the ABA again misses the point, as if blindly throwing cannon fodder at the problem will somehow magically win the war. Maybe if attorneys weren’t scrapping for every dime, they could afford to devote themselves to some volunteer work and raise the tide for all a little bit. So it goes.

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onehell (Apr 15, 2019 - 4:10 pm)

Yeah, people hate lawyers and are hostile to them, so when people hear about the "tragedy" of all these unemployed JDs, many Average Joe's think "good." In study after study it comes back as one of the least trustworthy professions around; I think only used car salesmen and politicians rank worse.

So the ABA (and state bars as well) have really only come up with one method to try and make people like lawyers more, and that's to basically shame them into (or in some cases like with NJ's mandatory pro bono, even order) working for free. But of course, that's usually an obligation you can buy your way out of, such as by donating to legal aid. So basically the lawyers least able to spare it, many of whom are on the verge of starvation or homelessness themselves, get conscripted into the PR effort while the big firm guys just throw a little money in that direction and then go back to billing hours.

No one asks that of docs, because when it comes to medical services for the poor the government just picks up the tab via Medicaid and Medicare. So they get to both make a killing AND be seen as angels.

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demwave (Apr 13, 2019 - 1:33 pm)

I have a bunch of doctor and dentist friends. They, and they are not high end doctors practicing on Park Avenue in Manhattan and are constantly complaining about the AMA and ADA. Basically on same grounds as lawyers complaining about their ABA. The AMA and ADA are only interested in protecting their high end members so they will never truly support single payer medical or dental care. If a rich guy on Park Avenue is paying $5k in cash for a crown why stop the gravy train. In the outer boroughs and the Bronx a crown is $200 or less.

Never mind that comprehensive single payer would pay for crowns for all and increase the supply of dentists so that there is no shortage. This is tantamount to the ABA protecting big law and professorships at law schools. I read somewhere that like 60% of all law professors got their JDs at just 10-15 law schools. Is that true?

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flharfh (Apr 13, 2019 - 11:46 pm)

MDs in the United States hate the idea of single payer because in all likelihood it will drastically lower their income (and increase their workload). To make single payer feasible care must be rationed, which means both limiting access to services and compensation paid for those services. American doctors are the highest paid in the world.

Maybe dentists are different, I don't know. Since many people have health insurance but not dental insurance, maybe they would do better under government control.

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williamdrayton (Apr 14, 2019 - 9:58 pm)

Yes. The faculty of even commodious law schools have a good number of T14 grads. The schools prefer them as candidates.

Two anecdotes:
I was acquainted with two profs at late, great,Charlotte. Both T14 grads.

Florida State's most famous law Prof was double-Harvard grad Dan Markel.

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wearyattorney (Apr 13, 2019 - 9:08 pm)

No profession is worth it anymore because of globalization and asset inflation, it’s just that law school is the absolute worst of the bunch.

I don’t want more protectionism, but less. I want to see the law schools burn.

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jeffm (Apr 14, 2019 - 1:58 pm)

Unmet needs = doesn't pay enough

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themapmaster (Apr 15, 2019 - 2:04 am)

Right. I hear third tier law school professors talk about the problem being our system not being able to deliver legal services to meet needs. Translation: they want the government to pay a massive amount of welfare so that Joe Dirt can have an attorney at his forcible entry and detainer hearing. We already have enough abuse in the Medicaid system but at least for a need more critical than landlord tenant law will ever be.

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superttthero (Apr 15, 2019 - 11:55 am)

It doesn't necessarily have to be gov't paid attorneys. There are (possible) legislative fixes that can lower the need....for instance, fair or not, worker's comp laws streamline a process of adjudicating injuries which would otherwise all be in standard civil court with way more rules, cost/expense.

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