Saturday, August 4, 2012
This one is in the Washington Post, and it's a review of Brian Tamanaha's controversial new book, "Failing Law Schools." The reviewer, Charles Lane, states "Tamanaha’s critique amounts to what lawyers call a 'statement against interest.' A legal academic, he has nothing to gain by making it. But, like a defendant’s admissions of wrongdoing, Tamanaha’s arguments gain credibility not only because they reflect first-hand knowledge but also because they are not self-serving."
The reviewer continues, "The real issue is that a high-paying job has become the only kind a law grad can afford to accept. Why? As Tamanaha explains, law schools have spent the past quarter-century jacking up their tuition, from an average of $2,400 per year at public institutions in 1987 to $18,500 in 2009; the corresponding figures at private law schools are $8,900 and $35,750. These increases far outstripped inflation. No wonder 90 percent of law students borrow money that in many cases can be repaid only by working in corporate law or the equivalent."
He concludes, "Tamanaha’s message — that law schools fail to fulfill this social purpose and that their failure is due to their selfishness and myopia — may not go over well in faculty lounges. But it is an important one nonetheless."
For another recent article that warns of impending doom from the law school crisis see my critique of Paul Campos, The Crisis of the American Law School. As I said then, the biggest problem with Campos's article is that it is based on reliable facts and statistics.