Wednesday, January 27, 2010
As many readers may know, the LA Times recently featured an editorial by Mark Greenbaum that blasted the ABA for abdicating its responsibility to lawyers, the public and prospective law students by not doing more to stem the tide of debt-burdened law grads seeking jobs where non exist.
ABA president Carolyn Lamm has now responded to the editorial as well as granting Above the Law an interview. In essence, Ms. Lamm says that the LA Times editorial got some of the key numbers wrong resulting in a misleading picture of the supply and demand for lawyers. Further, she explains that anti-trust laws prevent the ABA from refusing to approve new law schools if they meet the licensing requirements:
Greenbaum’s proposal to erect barriers to entry in the profession and/or to new law schools would violate the antitrust laws of the United States, something the ABA cannot and will not attempt to do. To violate our nation’s laws as we strive to teach new lawyers ethical and responsible practice would offend public trust and disserve future clients. Before so causally dismissing antitrust “concerns,” Greenbaum should consider the basic precepts of antitrust law that ban concerted action to bar entry to a public profession. He proposes to protect income of lawyers already in practice by clamping the pipeline for bright, committed, energetic and talented new lawyers preparing to serve the public. Rather, the ABA is working to ensure that our profession is open to all from our communities who wish to serve the public. Our profession and those involved in our justice system must reflect our communities. It is a difficult time for all given the economic crisis.
You can read the rest of President's Lamm's response to the LA Times editorial as well as her comments to ATL here.