November 21, 2017

University of Illinois, Chicago exploring possibility of acquiring John Marshall Law School

Story here.  UIC has a medical school, but no law school, while John Marshall is a free-standing law school.  If the acquisition occurred, it would be the only public law school in Chicago, and, assuming there was some tuition discount for state residents, it would put particular pressure on private law schools in the city like DePaul and Chicago-Kent.

November 21, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

November 16, 2017

Valparaiso Law School to begin winding down operations (at least in Indiana) due to financial pressures

That seems to be the import of this somewhat cryptic announcement.  Those with more information may post that in the comments; submit your comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.

November 16, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ten law schools will now accept the GRE

Blog Emperor Caron has a round-up.  I hope and expect more will.  This is a particularly good development for JD/PhD students, who in the past had to taken two different standardized tests.

November 16, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

November 06, 2017

LSAT takers up more than 10% in September/October compared to last year

That's on the heels of a nearly 20% increase in June test-takers.  It seems clear that not only has the decline in law school applications bottomed out (it has been stable the last two years), but now seems poised for a non-trivial increase.   Law schools would be wise not to expand too much, though, especially with the ABA policing more carefully bar passage rates.   But stable or increasing enrollments means that law schools can invest in faculty lines again, which we're already seeing this year.

November 6, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 31, 2017

ABA issues notices about possible non-compliance with ABA standards

Blog Emperor Caron collects links to them all, but they differ quite a bit.  The notice to Buffalo reflects record-keeping issues, I suspect, while those to Appalachian and Thomas Jefferson, for example, seem far more ominous.

October 31, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 30, 2017

Tuition-discounting at law schools

There's a lot of it, unsurprisingly, according to a new study (which included data from only 36 schools, however).

October 30, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 19, 2017

California Supreme Court declines to lower Bar pass score

The Court explains its decision here.  Tellingly, they don't even claim that it's necessary to keep the score where it is because that is essential for competent legal practice.  The decision is certainly a blow for the vast majority of California law schools that had lobbied for a lower pass score, more in line with other jurisdictions.

October 19, 2017 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

September 28, 2017

The second FAR distribution came out today...

...with only 55 new applicants for faculty positions.  Altogether, there are fewer than 500 candidates seeking law teaching positions this year, one of the lowest totals I can recall.  There are some indications that hiring is up this year--or at least interviewing--but it's too early to say for sure.

September 28, 2017 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

September 25, 2017

The law school monopoly myth (Michael Simkovic)

It is often assumed that the only way to become a lawyer is to attend an ABA-approved law school.  That is true in some states and, indeed, the ABA has at times expressed the view that it should be true in all states.  But it is not the case in large jurisdictions such as New York or California, nor is it the case in the majority of jurisdictions.  Claims that ABA-approved law school have a monopoly on entry into the legal profession are exaggerations.  Rather, the most popular—and probably most likely—way to become a lawyer is to graduate from an ABA-approved institution. 

In leading jurisdictions such as New York, California, and Virginia, an individual who wishes to become a lawyer may sit for the bar examination with between zero and 1 years of law school and between 3 and 4 years of apprenticeship and study under the supervision of a licensed attorney (this is also known as “law office study” or “reading for the bar”).  In California, graduates of non-ABA-approved law schools are eligible to sit for the bar examination.  This includes schools with extremely low-cost, technology-driven approaches to teaching, such as online and correspondence schools.

In fact, non-ABA law school graduates are eligible to sit for the bar examination in most jurisdictions (31 in total as of 2017) according to the National Conference of Bar Examiners.**  This includes extremely large and important jurisdictions such as California, Florida, New York, Texas and Washington D.C.  Graduates of online and correspondence law schools are eligible to sit for the bar examination in 4 jurisdictions.

Very few people choose the apprenticeship route, and only a minority opt for non-ABA law schools.  Among those who do, relatively few successfully complete their courses of study or pass the bar examination.  But those who do will have the same license to practice law as someone who graduates from an ABA-approved law school and successfully passes the bar examination.

Why then do so many prospective lawyers choose ABA-approved law schools?

The most likely explanation is that prospective lawyers choose ABA-approved law schools because those law schools provide a valuable and worthwhile service that supports a higher price point than other options.* 

Many employers value legal education.  That’s why they typically pay law school graduates tens of thousands of dollars more per year than they pay similar bachelor’s degree holders, even in occupations other than the practice of law.  When law school graduating class sizes increase, and a lower proportion of graduates practice law, graduates don’t typically see a noticeable decline in their earnings premium. 

In other words, the benefits of law school are versatile. Graduates of ABA-approved law schools also seem to be much more likely to complete their studies and pass the bar examination than students attending more lightly regulated and lower cost alternatives.

Continue reading

September 25, 2017 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Student Advice, Weblogs | Permalink

September 22, 2017

Why law?