Kodak was one of the pre-eminent brands in the US from the 1890s until the 2000s. As late as 1976, Kodak sold 90% of film and 85% of cameras in the U.S. They kept innovating and improving their products through the years and stayed far ahead of other companies in the camera film industry.
Kodak believed its brand was so strong that they were impervious to competition. They turned down the opportunity to become an official sponsor at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. This gave competitor Fujifilm, a company looking for a foothold in the American market, the chance they needed to increase their market share. This missed opportunity by Kodak gave Fujifilm the push it needed to sustain its U.S. business and to overtake Kodak. Other factors that took Kodak down was a failure to continue creating new products, a culture of complacency, and a belief that the good times would never end.
In 1981, a Kodak executive named Vince Barabba completed a study that pointed to digital as being a real threat to Kodak's existing business model. But, on the bright side, Barabba said that the company had 10 years until digital technologies would become a viable threat. So what did Kodak do? Not much. The company was actually a pioneer in the field of digital photography, producing a prototype digital camera in December of 1975. But Kodak's huge margins on photography supplies, which reached up to 70%, were too enticing. The company commissioned many products that were "digital props" for its core physical film business, such as the Advantix camera. As other companies like Canon overtook them, the complacency of Kodak's leadership caused the company to fall to where it is now: a bit player in a commoditized industry.
Accelerated JD programs are a way for students to make less of a time commitment. In theory, people who can't commit to being out of the workforce for three years may be able to justify two years in law school. Per the website for the University of Washington's Accelerated JD program, the types of students who this type program is attractive to include mid career professionals, foreign lawyers, students with a definite career plan for after law school [Ed. Note: Can you get any more nebulous?], and adults who seek to re-enter the workforce. The appeal for this type of program is especially acute for a foreign attorney. A foreign attorney already knows how to "think like a lawyer". Providing these individuals an avenue to get back into the legal profession in a compressed time frame is an attractive proposition. A year not spent in law school is one fewer year of lost opportunity cost for these people. These programs were the next big thing back in 2008.
There have been many famous figures, including President Obama, who have called for the elimination of the last year of law school. A recent New York Times article talks about the failure of the accelerated JD program concept. Northwestern, the lone "elite" school to create a two year accelerated JD program, is shuttering their accelerated JD program due to lack of interest. Law school administrators say that the accelerated JD programs were set up to appeal to people who would not otherwise apply to law school. Thus, it is surprising that the accelerated JD program at a place like Northwestern failed only 7 years after its introduction. Which begs the question: Were these programs given the chance to succeed?
The cost of these accelerated JD programs is usually the same as that of a three year degree. This makes little sense. Per the University of Vermont's Accelerated JD program web page, their dean says, "The AJD program is one of the most innovative actions that VLS is taking in response to concerns about the cost of legal education." But if the cost is the same as a three year program, then the only cost savings is room and board for that third year. In a large city, these costs total a significant amount of money. But at a place like South Royalton, VT, this savings is a pittance compared to what students are paying in tuition. The value proposition is not there.
Some law schools also introduce a greater level of difficulty for students in their accelerated JD programs. For example, before being allowed to enroll in Brooklyn Law School's program, "Students must undergo a formal interview, either in person or via Skype, to “make sure that students understand it is a vigorous program." This is an admirable step, and one that the law school may want to institute for all incoming students. Creighton will not allow students to be in a joint degree program if they are in the accelerated JD program. There may be logistical reasons for this rule, but it should be up to the students to decide whether or not they can handle it. These roadblocks do not make the accelerated JD programs attractive to students.
Like Kodak, law schools are having to come to grips with the aftermath of their complacency. How did the story end for Kodak? They filed for bankruptcy on January 19, 2012 and are a shadow of the company they once were. With the impending failure of schools like Thomas Jefferson, law schools' day of reckoning may be nigh as well. Law professors and administrators, like the executives at Kodak, are trying to implement half measures while they fight hard to protect their core business. All the while, costs keep going up and students keep graduating with unconscionable levels of debt. It has to end. The sooner the better.