Friday, June 26, 2015

Will libraries be the first casualty of the law school crisis?

This "new" article by Professor James G. Milles (SUNY-Buffalo) entitled Legal Education in Crisis, and Why Law Libraries Are Doomed argues that as the budget crisis facing most law schools worsens, law libraries will be the first casualty of war given that the ABA has already indicated a willingness to loosen accreditation standards when it comes to the resources allocated to them. Though this article was posted to SSRN back in 2013 (here) it just came through my news feed as newly published - now available at 106 Law Libr. J. 507 (2014) - so I figured I'd post it for those who are interested in the topic but haven't yet seen it. The "Yirka Question" mentioned in the abstract below is a reference to this article. Here's the full abstract from Professor Milles article:

The dual crises facing legal education - the economic crisis affecting both the job market and the pool of law school applicants, and the crisis of confidence in the ability of law schools and the ABA accreditation process to meet the needs of lawyers or society at large - have undermined the case for not only the autonomy, but the very existence, of law school libraries as we have known them. Legal education in the United States is about to undergo a long-term contraction, and law libraries will be among the first to go. A few law schools may abandon the traditional law library completely. Some law schools will see their libraries whittled away bit by bit as they attempt to answer “the Yirka Question” in the face of shrinking resources, reexamined priorities, and university centralization. What choices individual schools make will largely be driven by how they play the status game.


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Professor Milles and I presented contrasting views of the future of academic law libraries at the 2013 CALI Conference on Law School Computing, and our articles based on the talks are companion pieces in Law Library Journal. I recommend those who read his paper should read my paper, Like Mark Twain: The Death of Academic Law Libraries is an Exaggeration for a different take on the challenges we face. Although my paper is in print at 104 L. Libr. J. 521, there was an error in production and the final version is best found in SSRN or our own repository.

Posted by: Kenneth J. Hirsh | Jun 27, 2015 5:49:02 AM

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