I wrote a few of the emails that Prof. Campos posted on Inside the Law School Scam. I want to revisit one of them: http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/search?q=cle
In that post, I discussed the New York State Bar Association's requirement that new lawyers complete hundreds of dollars of live MCLE courses in the first two years (after charging $750 for applications and dues and bar exam fees). The NYSBA allows a tuition reduction if a person applies for it. However, even if this person qualifies for government assistance because she is below the poverty line, the bar only will provide a $50 coupon or, if she is lucky, 50% off of the course, which will still cost $75-$125.
The NYSBA also offers week-long courses, which require $300+ fees and travel/lodging expenses. For example, they are running a week-long trial advocacy camp for new lawyers near Cornell, meaning that most interested in this program will have to take a week off of their Starbucks job to travel and sleep away at Cornell.
As we all know, the normal MCLE courses could be offered online for $20 or less. Alternatively, the live courses in New York City could be hosted at much cheaper locations than, say, the most expensive midtown hotels.
I took an MCLE class again yesterday, and based on the number in attendance and the cost of the class, this one-day MCLE workshop generated over $21,000 in revenue (before factoring in the merchandise sales). The bar hosts a dozen of these classes each month!
I have tried getting answers about these high costs from the person in charge of the Continuing Legal Education in New York, but he will not discuss the hard numbers or the reasons for so little relief for new attorneys despite the required live courses and the higher number of credits required to stay in good standing.
Again, this is all indicative of the clueless or the outright gouging of an out-of-touch generation. The lawyers teaching my criminal law workshop did not understand that half of the people they were instructing were unemployed (a fact that came out toward the end of the day after someone asked for a show of hands). Yet, there we were, learning strategy for murder trials and other felonies that few of us will ever handle.
Interestingly, a New York Times article today echoed my "Jobs Now" post about the huge number of poor people without access to legal help despite the huge number of new attorneys available to work for low pay and/or loan forgiveness.
The good news: I feel that the USNWR's attempt to posture--pretending that they were harbingers of the truth--and the mainstream media stories published each week about the law school collapse, the lawyer glut, and the public's lack of access to legal services means that change is starting...even if slowly. Don't expect those in charge to help--they will continue to posture and to take credit for change after we force it.
The best pressure now is shaming the bar associations, who often block many talented young lawyers from jobs and government revenue, and expanding the audience receiving our message.