Houston, we have a problem.
We’ve mentioned the new proposed law school in the Daytona Beach area before, but I don’t think we’ve devoted a whole post to this project. Florida already has 12 freaking law schools. Twelve. Can we really pretend that one more is going to significantly change the comically (or tragically) over-saturated legal market in one of the states hardest hit by the housing market collapse?
Plus, it’s Florida… since when do people down there listen to reason? They can’t run an election. They’re unleashing their rednecks to battle their snake problem. I just don’t think anybody cares if they further damage their legal economy or take advantage of additional dumbasses who don’t know any better.
I really wasn’t going to write another full thing about it. And then, this morning, I learned that they intend to call the thing “Florida Space Coast School of Law.”
For those who haven’t been following along, a group of businessmen decided to open a law school in the Daytona Beach area. Why? They think that students have to pay too much for a legal education, and they want to make a school that caters to non-traditional students. Those aren’t the worst reasons to open a law school. It’s still irresponsible to open a law school in a state that already has 12 freaking schools without making and publishing really good data on how there is a specific need for lawyers who graduate from your law school. But people in legal education don’t get rich for understanding where there’s a need for more lawyers, they make their money trying to figure out where there’s a need for more law students.
Which brings us to the “Space Coast.” Like I said, they were going to put the law school in Daytona Beach proper, but the building they were going to use turned out to be too small. From the Daytona Times:
Attorney Eric Smith said he was shocked when he learned last month that the old Daytona Beach Police Department building on the corner of Orange Avenue and Nova Road did not meet the size qualifications for a law school.
Daytona Beach city officials had been telling Smith and his partners from Jacksonville that the building had 55,000 square feet of space available for use. An appraisal on the building actually found that there is just 38,000 square feet of usable space.
Since they can’t have the law school in Daytona Beach, they’re now looking at places on the “space coast.” Look, I know that the space coast is a geographic thing. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut (before I realized that astronauts had to be physically fit and do crazy dangerous things like ride a freaking bomb into space). Technically, calling your law school “Space Coast Law” is no dumber than calling your law school “Southwestern Law.” It’s the name of the place where the school is located.
But it sure sounds dumber. It sounds like you are opening a casino, not a law school.
And realistically, maybe that’s what Space Coast Law will end up being. It’ll be just another lottery law school, in which a couple of people leave winners and the vast majority of people leave wondering why they just wasted all their money. Listen to these plans:
They hope to initially enroll 80 students and grow the student body to 600 as well as secure accreditation from the American Bar Association (ABA), according to the National Law Journal.
Plans also call for the school to keep costs low by focusing on attracting practicing attorneys to teach…
Those involved say the school, which will be called the Florida Space Coast School of Law, would emphasize public service and pro bono work, and foster a cooperative, rather than competitive, atmosphere.
Nemerson and Smith believe the lower cost of education isn’t the only thing that will set them apart from Florida’s 12 other law schools. The new law school’s founders also plan to use practicing attorneys and judges as faculty.
Have you ever been to a casino with a non-gambler, and you head for the craps table, and your companion says, “Oh, I can’t afford to play craps, I’m going to the nickel slots.” Then you wipe the “Jane, you ignorant slut” look off your face just long enough to say, “You realize that slots are just about the stupidest thing you could do with your money in this entire, stupid casino?” Then they say, “Well, I can only afford to lose a couple of hundred dollars.” And you say, “But you’re definitely going to lose a couple of hundred dollars on the slots.” And they retort, “Well, you’re definitely going to lose it all on craps.” And you scream, “MAYBE! But you ALMOST CERTAINLY will lose. If you can’t understand ODDS could you at least understand goddamn ENGLISH!”
Does that happen to other people?
That’s what I feel when I see these Space Coast Law plans. Telling poor people that this is a law school they can “afford” doesn’t help really help if their chances for success are minuscule. There are already 12 law schools in Florida. Instead of going to the 13th one, maybe you should just take your law school tuition and put it on the pass line and hope for the best.
P.S. Speaking of gambling, Lat and I will be in Las Vegas next month. We’re debating legal education at UNLV Law School on Monday, February 11th, at noon, in an event sponsored by the Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society. I’d say the odds are good that you’ll find us at the Wynn on Saturday night, February 9th, in case you are interested.
Attorney: Law school not coming to Daytona [Daytona Times]