Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Ontario rejects proposal for new law school

While law schools have been springing up all over the US, the Canadian province of Ontario has had the sense to reject a plan to create another law school in Toronto.

Ryerson University proposed to open a law school as early as 2020. "Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Merrilee Fullerton reviewed the proposal and concluded, based on a number of factors including a surplus of students for articling positions, modest wage growth and projected job openings, that another law school in the province isn’t needed." Articling positions are apprenticeships required in Canada for admission to the bar, and for years there have not been enough articling positions for the graduates seeking them; Ontario even had to introduce an alternative to articling, the "Law Practice Program", for the many graduates who could not find articles. And those who do become lawyers may still struggle to find work: just as in the US, too many new lawyers are chasing too few jobs.

In light of the evident fact that there are already too many law schools in Canada, Ryerson had promised to "differentiate itself with what it described as a bold, new approach to legal education". Oh, really? Where have I heard that before? Every new law school claims "a bold, new approach to legal education", but not a single one delivers. Furthermore, changes to "legal education" will not address the shortage of jobs, which militates against opening yet another law school.

Ryerson's "aim was to focus on equity and diversity, while being a 'champion for ordinary citizens and driver for small businesses'". This too is a standard canard of the law-school scam. Fostering "equity and diversity" in this context amounts to luring racialized people into a trap of unemployment, for the benefit of overpaid hackademic scamsters. And the bit about "ordinary citizens" and "small businesses" refers to the common but false assertion that lawyers can make a living by serving people who cannot afford legal services. Yes, millions of people go without the legal help that they need—because they can't or won't pay for it. Serving such people is no way to make money.

Ryerson's would-have-been toilet needed funding that the provincial government was unwilling to provide. Apparently the provincial government also rejected the proposal to "bridge the gap by charging higher fees".

So Ryerson's proposed toilet law school was unneeded, unaffordable, and useless. What's not to like?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A Tale of Two Feasibility Studies

With the demise of Valpo apparently on the way, it is interesting to reflect on the change of tone between Indiana Tech's feasibility study (ITLS) proposing the need for a law school in 2011 and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission's feasibility study (THEC) denying the need for a law school in 2018.
While it is somewhat difficult to draw up a line-by-line comparison between the two studies, as each study chooses to highlight different points, you can certainly hear the difference between a "sales job" on the one hand and a "pragmatic denial" on the other.  This should not be surprising, as hind-sight has proved to be more than 20-20 given the years that have transpired.  While the Law School Cartel has not been completely shaken up, the toll that has been exacted has shown who was swimming naked when the tide did go out, and who is still treading water
Here are a few examples:
*  Comparing Legal Outcomes
The After the JD Longitudinal study of legal careers sponsored by the American Bar Foundation (ABF) and the NALP Foundation provides encouragement that student loans are a good investment, even for those who take lower-paying jobs when they graduate…[i]t first surveyed them in 2002 and again in 2007…[i]n the 2007 survey, 20 percent of respondents had paid off their loans in the preceding five years, and median debt had fallen by $20,000 to $50,000…[i]t appears that most law students do not pay high law school tuitions seeking a pure economic return on investment.  Rather they see their education as the gateway to meaningful, interesting careers (p.16,17) (data from before the Great Recession but cited by the study in 2011.  Ed.)

At full (enrollment) capacity, there is roughly a balance between the numbers graduation from law school in Tennessee and project employment opportunities, but: (1) the occupation projections are predicated on “full employment,” which is proven overly optimistic in past cycles, (b) It is not clear that the current 10-year projections on employment of lawyers fully comprehends the impact of disruptive technology, particularly artificial intelligence, on the quantity, nature and location lf legal services work, (c) while the current occupational projects may comprehend the fact that 10 percent of lawyers work past the age of 65, it is less certain how the methodology takes into account legislative initiatives in Tennessee to reduce the need for legal services, such as tort and workers compensation reform (p.4)
Already, you can hear the pitch - look, even though its expensive, look at the great results!  Debt isn't so bad after all!  Plus, who can put a price on an interesting career?  Seven years later, the THEC is saying "not so fast, let's look at the data.  There is optimism bias here, past performance does not guarantee future results, and there is market pressure."  
More below the fold: