I think I’m going to have the vapors.
A guy running for governor is promising to add a law school in his state if he’s elected. Not subtract. Not regulate. Not offer basic consumer protection to people in his state duped into legal education by charlatans greedy for government student loan funds. Nope, this guy says he’s going to open another one, like it’s just another pork barrel promise to be made on the campaign trail.
That’s what gets me: he thinks it’s pork. He thinks promising a new law school should be uttered in the same stump speech as promising infrastructure projects, or business incentives. Like, he would say, “I’m going to build a railroad, and right here on this spot I will build an institution to take advantage of the hopes and dreams of low-information college graduates.” He wouldn’t say that out loud. But he thinks saying “I’m going to build a law school” is something that he can say out loud. He thinks it’s something that will be met with cheers. Whether or not he does build a law school, he thinks saying “new law school” is what the people want to hear.
That makes me a sad panda. Despite all the information and statistics available, your average schmo on the street probably thinks, “A law school? Sure why not? Now tell me more about the unmarried man who tweeted with a stripper without judging her and telling her to find Jesus”…
While speaking at the historically black college, Bowie State University, Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler promised to build a law school there. Gansler is in a crowded Democratic primary to replace the term-limited Martin O’Malley in the Maryland statehouse.
As far as I can tell from reports in the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post, Gansler offered no reason why Bowie State needs a law school. Are there people who live in Maryland who want to go to law school who can’t go to the University of Maryland, Lego Law School, or one of the 1500 law schools in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia? If so, could I have one hour alone with those people before they apply to Bowie State Law School? I have some basic facts I’d like them to see.
Here’s what passes as Gansler’s “reasoning” for the additional law school:
[Gansler] and others have made the case in recent years for a law school at Bowie State University, a historically black institution, arguing it could help create more minority lawyers and would be conveniently located.
I really wish that somebody would require people to produce one shred of evidence to support their suppositions before they’re allowed to do things like open a law school. For instance, is there any evidence, whatsoever, that there are currently UNCREATED minority lawyers who fail to attend law school BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT CONVENIENTLY LOCATED? Honestly, at this point I’d settle for one dude. Show me one guy who says, “Yeah, I’d totally go to law school, but man, the bus, such a hassle.”
Meanwhile, I think we have overwhelming evidence that creating minority lawyers and creating lawyers who are able to serve poor, minority clients IS NOT THE SAME THING. I mean, I’m a fan of minorities! I think they should be allowed to go to law school. But before you just plop another law school down in an oversaturated market, you really should be able to show:
- That there are minorities who want to go to law school who cannot get into the multitude of available law schools.
- That the people who can’t get into law school now, when schools are desperate to fill their seats (see e.g., the Paul Campos article on American), will still end up being good or even bar-passing lawyers if just given the chance to try.
- That there are going to be JOBS or a basic path to financial security available for all the minority lawyer DEBT you are “creating.”
- And then show me how you are going to do this at reasonable costs for the taxpayers funding the school, and the students attending.
Can Gansler, or anybody else who thinks a new law school is a good idea, do that? Can the ABA show that before accrediting new law schools? DOES ANYBODY THINK BEFORE PROPOSING NEW LAW SCHOOLS?
If you want to open a new plant, the EPA requires you to do an environmental impact study. They care if your plant is going to hurt wildlife or trees or ground water. But if you open a new school, the Department of Education doesn’t give a crap about whether or not your venture is going to hurt students.
Gansler to push Metro stop at National Harbor, law school at Bowie State University [Washington Post]
Gansler campaign tour includes more promises [Baltimore Sun]