First, there are too many law students training for a J.D. in a market that is already saturated.
(In his letter, Dean Wu outlines an eight-point plan for the ABA — so let’s take a look at the other seven points….)
Here are the other seven points that Dean Wu wants the ABA to consider. He explains them in full in his letter, but each thesis statement pretty much sums up something that is crucially wrong with law schools:
- Second, tuition is too high and has risen too quickly.
- Third, the first two issues create a great irony. We actually face unmet legal need.
- Fourth, the ABA has adopted a restrictive rule regarding online legal education.
- Fifth, US News & World Report rankings have a widely recognized deleterious effect, yet are a widely accepted metric for assessing quality
- Sixth, the public is demanding, and the federal government is starting to insist on, accreditation standards that measure student-learning outcomes.
- Seventh, admission to the bar (of course regulated by states, though the ABA may be able to exert some influence) should be determined by examinations that test actual readiness to practice as best as possible.
- Eighth, the ABA should, and only the ABA is positioned to, undertake extensive public education about the importance of legal institutions, not only law schools but also an independent judicial system.
That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it? Law school is costly and doesn’t create lawyers ready to serve clients in need, the judicial system is under attack, and the ABA still pretends the internet doesn’t exist while abdicating its regulatory responsibility to a for-profit magazine.
Despite all of these obvious problems, remember: “there are too many law students training for a J.D.” When smart investors let me start Above the Law: The Law School, I’m hiring Dean Wu.
Letter from Dean Wu to the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education [U.C. Hastings College of the Law]