Thomas Morgan

Thomas D. Morgan

The jolt to the legal profession is real, and the world is not going back to the way it was.

Thomas D. Morgan, professor of law at George Washington University Law School, commenting on the state of legal education during a plenary session at the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools. Morgan, author of The Vanishing American Lawyer (affiliate link), noted that more must be done to make legal education relevant in a post-recession world.

Let a thousand law schools bloom?

Critics of the current legal-education model, including my colleague Elie Mystal, have accused the American Bar Association of failing to uphold sufficiently stringent accreditation standards. ABA-accredited law schools proliferate, even though thousands of law school graduates find themselves unemployed or underemployed.

The ABA was recently chided by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity for various alleged deficiencies in the ABA’s exercise of its accreditation power (for example, failure to consider student-loan default rates in assessing programs). Politicians such as Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Charles Grassley (R-IA), and Tom Coburn (R-OK) have also raised questions about whether there are too many law schools and law school graduates, especially in light of the still-challenging legal job market.

In light of this debate, I was eager to attend a panel at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention on the subject of law school accreditation….

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