February 3, 2012
Reducing Law School Tuition to Zero
Pointing to Great Britain as an example, Northwestern Law prof John McGinnis and K&E attorney Russell Mangas argue the case that legal education should be taught as a major at the undergraduate level. From their Jan. 17, 2012 WSJ opinion piece titled First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Law Schools:
States should permit undergraduate colleges to offer majors in law that will entitle graduates to take the bar exam. If they want to add a practical requirement, states could also ask graduates to serve one-year apprenticeships before becoming eligible for admission to the bar.
In addition to reducing the cost of training a lawyer, an undergraduate law degree could facilitate innovation in legal teaching. Because an undergraduate major would be situated within a college of arts and sciences, it would be easier to provide an interdisciplinary education, mixing elements of social science and humanities with legal doctrine.
The authors also note that "the undergraduate option would improve graduate education by forcing law schools to justify their cost by offering additional benefits." The authors point to LLMs. One could also add the possibility of offering doctorates in all the "Law & ..." areas.
[T]he great benefit of the undergraduate option would be lowering the cost of legal education, thus increasing the supply of lawyers willing to charge lower fees. Lower fees mean broader access for middle- and lower-income Americans. Ultimately, law exists to serve the public. Legal education needs to provide more diverse options to assure a more diverse bar and a better-served public.
Makes too much sense to me. So I don't expect any such transformation of legal education in my lifetime.
- Imagine law school deans -- "I don't want to become some lowly liberal arts and sciences academic department head."
- Imagine university administrators crunching the numbers for tuition revenue loses.
- Imagine law profs complaining about the loss of their pay scale differential and higher tenure standards (good-bye student edited law reviews; hello peer reviewed law journals).
On a lighter note. The authors fail to add that graduating with a BA in Law could also improve the prospects of finding some sort of gainful employment outside of law if practicing law jobs aren't available. See ATL's What ‘Can’t’ You Do With a Law Degree? and 140 Things You Can’t Do With a Law Degree on Constitutional Daily. [JH]
February 3, 2012 | Permalink
Interesting to see the 140 Things piece under the heading "On a lighter note."
--- Yes, a little bit of sarcasm. -- Joe
Posted by: BL1Y | Feb 3, 2012 1:25:58 PM