What with the recent closures of Indiana Tech and Whittier, to say nothing of mergers and attempts by law schools to raise funds in order to keep operating, what do LawProfs have to say? By chance, are they implicated in any way? Let's get right to it:
Not clear that blaming senior faculty is constructive. Like Jack, I work hard. I’m currently on sabbatical, but for the preceding five years, I averaged 20 units of teaching per year, twice what our junior faculty members are asked to teach, while maintaining some of the best teaching evaluations at a school with excellent average evaluations. During that same period, I wrote a first and second edition of a casebook, with accompanying 500-page teacher’s manual, and published numerous articles. I also designed and implemented several new revenue-generating programs for the school, the net revenues of which pay for my salary many times over. When our school went on a faculty-slimming program with buy-out offers, no one offered me a buy-out. I wonder why. (I wouldn’t have accepted in any event; I love what I do.) Sorry to seem self-promoting, but we more experienced faculty members sometimes need to defend ourselves.
Posted by: Theodore Seto | Apr 25, 2017 12:06:16 AM
Well! Let's count the Baby Boomer bromides: (1) I "work hard" notwithstanding sabbaticals, (2) everybody loves me, (3) I'm important because I'm published, (4) I pay for my cost by helping keep the gristmill going, and (5) I'm better that everyone else and those other (younger) lawprof louses should be fired instead. Nothing about law school lax acceptance practices, outrageous tuition costs, the dissemination of false and misleading information, that too many law schools are pumping out too many graduates, or the non-recovery of the legal market. Clearly, no one else works as hard as Seto and he deserves his position, so go looking elsewhere for your pound of flesh from the scam.
Are things better for the class of 2016 as opposed to earlier? There appears to be some minor improvement according to recent ABA numbers, but hardly what one would call a huge swing to the so-called "golden days" of legal education. UPDATE: For example, the percentage of students from, say, Loyola(LA), who obtained full-time, bar-passage required jobs went down 0.2% from a whopping 47% to 46.8% from 2015 to 2016.
MacK dismissed Seto's arguments in late 2013, and it appears that his predictions were more on point:
Seto's assessment - and for that matter Dan Filler's approving posting of it is remarkable in inherently admitting something that Dan and Seto had until now been desperately denying - that there was a substantial fall in the number of law school matriculations in progress - and that there is an oversupply of JDs.
At the same time, Seto makes a mess of things. The key hole in his analysis is the assumption that until recently supply (JDs awarded per year) was in fact in equilibrium with demand for new law graduates. As has now been relentlessly detailed by numerous careful studies (as well as the missing lawyer phenomenon) that has not been an accurate assessment since perhaps the 1990s. Only a small proportion of the demand-supply mismatch can be attributed to the recession. (The non-equilibrium in the JD supply is a function of the market distortion of a student loan system devoid of underwriting standards.)
Where Seto may be accurate is in his prediction that on current numbers matriculations will be of the order of 39,900 - though it could easily be lower (the impact of law schools' desperate efforts to get applications in the current cycle (waiving application fees, chasing marginally interested applicants) will likely be a lower yield of matriculants from the number of applications, especially if the recovery continues to strengthen through the summer. What does this mean for law schools? Well one good prediction is that in any given metro area with multiple law schools, the bottom ranked law school will be in trouble as students shuffle up to the higher ranked school(s), or the lower ranked school needs to offer very heavy discounts to attract students. It may also lead to competition for transfers in senior class ranks (as schools like Phoenix law are discovering) and further efforts to prevent the losses of 2Ls and 3Ls and tuition dollars. Remember a fall of 8,000 law students means the equivalent of around 20-40 law schools' first year classes (assuming 200-400 per entering class.) The assumption of the pollyanna's is that the fall in matriculations will be evenly distributed across all law schools - but it seems more reasonable to think that those with the perceived worst value offering will take the biggest hit.
The next couple of years are going to be a wild ride for law schools - and September will be very interesting.