Wednesday, February 6, 2013
No, says Will Foster at the Huffington Post. Foster makes some excellent points in this article about the value of lawyers, especially about lawyers as problem solvers.
He opens, "Law schools are not producing too many lawyers. They have become the whipping boys of the current 'legal employment crisis,' in which many complain that the institutions are producing too many graduates with too much debt and with employment prospects that are too bleak."
First, he argues, "Lawyers are by genus problem-solvers. . . . There are not too many problem-solvers."
Next, he asserts, "Law schools provide their graduates with incredibly valuable skill and knowledge sets. . . . There are not too many individuals with a deep working knowledge of our legal system."
He notes that "Indeed, many areas remain legally underserviced. . . . There are not too many skilled specialists."
He also points out that "In Kansas, where I teach, around 400 attorneys typically are sworn-in each year to service a state of 2.9 million inhabitants. When considered in combination with retirements of older attorneys, it is arguable that the state is not producing enough attorneys to sustain its current standard and availability of service. There are not too many practitioners in my state, and probably many others."
He continues, "There are not too many people who can open the doors to the justice system for those in various socio-economic statuses." Moreover, "There are not, and can never be, too many advocates who eagerly embrace the weight of their clients' lives and fortunes and even their profession's standing in each aspect and product of their work."
He concludes, "I would ask those considering law school to avoid giving in to the popular perception that lawyers are a family of booze-fueled writ monkeys with six-minute circadian rhythms. Lawyers provide a value that cannot be replaced by canned forms or electronic research databases. The profession is still noble and the societal benefits of a well-trained stable of problem-solvers cannot be overstated."
(Scott Fruehwald) (hat tip: Emily Grant)