From the Boston Bar Journal: A Modest Response to a Simple Proposal

By Dean Camille A. Nelson


In his essay, Rethinking Law School Admissions Through Accreditation: A Simple Proposal, Attorney Yurko presents some interesting ideas.  The upshot is a suggestion for greater regulation of the market in legal education, due to a market failure that has resulted in significant student debt load, and an assumed inoculation of law schools from the consequences of lower placement rates.

But legal education does not exist in a vacuum.  There has been a decline in the “market for lawyers” post-2008, as the US economy shifted from a period of relative expansion to one of economic stagnation, and ultimately financial crisis.

As the demand for traditional professional legal services decreases, there is an inevitable and predictable impact upon legal education as well.  Given this interconnectivity, it is folly to assume that one can be fixed (i.e. law schools), without a corollary remedial assessment of the other (the legal profession).  Moreover, law schools find themselves in the mix in other complex and, often complicated, systems beyond the legal profession.  These other “partners in legal education” also often have strong views about the way forward in terms of the education of future lawyers.

It is increasingly important for law schools to be in dialogue with the practicing bar and bench, just as it is important to recognize that law schools must be responsive to the larger university systems of which they are often a part, the dictates of the Department of Education and accreditors, all while being vulnerable to U.S. News and World Report ratings.  Law schools have complex governance structures, and it should not be forgotten that many of them also provide legal and community services in addition to graduate education.

Continue reading at the Boston Bar Journal.