ABA Proposal to Reduce Full-Time Faculty Requirement: Law Students (Present and Future) Should Make Their Voices Heard
The ABA’s proposal to jettison the requirement that full-time faculty teach the majority of upper-level courses is a terrible idea. The ABA is proposing to replicate what undergraduate institutions have been doing with adjunct faculty, with no protections for students. If you’re in law school now, or are thinking about going, or if you care about the quality of your lawyer, you should take up the ABA on its invitation to comment on the proposed change. Contact information below.
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The ABA, whose oversight of law schools is supposedly in the interest of law students, seems up to its old tricks, i.e., being little more than a shill for law schools. The latest proposal from the ABA is to eliminate the requirement that at least half of law school upper-level courses be taught by full-time faculty. What law schools could do with their adjunct faculty is different and better than what undergraduate institutions can do. Law schools can do that right now; many do, to their credit. But they’re asking for a lot more. Why? Most likely, so that they can and will do exactly what colleges have done—draw from a pool of unemployed or marginally employed lawyers and others because that’s the cheapest labor pool. Not the best but the cheapest. Period.
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The LSAT has enjoyed a monopoly over law school admissions testing for a long,long, long time. Last year, the University of Arizona announced that it would accept Graduate Record Exam (GRE) results in addition to LSATresults in admissions decisions. Recently, Harvard Law School announced a “pilot program” to do the same thing.
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In the increasingly long season of law school admissions, waitlist season has gotten longer, too, and waitlists keep expanding. My advice: don’t worry but do what you can to improve your position. Don’t do too much, you don’t want to risk irritating law schools by peppering them with unnecessary information—you are not the only applicant to be waitlisted and you shouldn’t act as it you are.
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University of Iowa Law School announced it will cut tuition, beginning in Fall 2014, for in-state students and out of state students by 16.4 percent (this would make out-of-state tuition around $39,500). The reason? A heartwarming “to maximize graduates’ ability to follow their hearts and take jobs they love”…along with a desire to stay competitive and increase applicants in the face of the industry-wide drop in law school applications. Now, you may recall my discussion prompted by Henry Rigg’s article in 2011, when schools were raising tuition in the face of record demand, about applying theories of pricing strategy to law school tuition:
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To continue our reaction to Ryan Calo's Forbes piece on the legal job (and education) market—should you, as a potential 2014 law school applicant, be optimistic? Well, let's first summarize our previous entry: so, law school is a bigger risk than it was ten years ago—maybe not 20 years ago, but certainly ten. The drop in applications clearly does create opportunities for applicants, since the same personal statement, LSAT score and grade point averages will likely get you into a better law school (read, “with better job prospects”) than it would have five years ago. But there are still more applicants than there are seats, and it’s still expensive.
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The Wall Street Journal Law Blog recently noted an academic paper by Sherman Clark on the value of law school as a “liberal arts” style degree, that is, finding worth in its potential contribution to helping one “live a full and satisfying and meaningful life,” as Clark put it.
The downward trend continues. LSAC released data showing that the October 2013 LSAT sitting was the 13th in a row with fewer test takers than the previous year. There were 11% fewer people taking the test than in October of last year. The LSAC figures reveal, moreover, that applicant numbers have returned to what they were in the second half of the 1990’s.
Good calendar and time management are essential skills for practicing lawyers. And like many of those skills, preparing to apply to law school is a fine time to work on them. This means maximizing your law school prep calendar—deciding when to start preparing, how much time to give yourself, and knowing what your strengths and obstacles might be.
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