Saturday, July 11, 2009

Law Schools and the Legal Meltdown: An Interesting Post

In an interesting post on the Legal Profession Blog, Indiana University School of Law professor Bill Hendrickson asks whether law schools and legal educators are both oblivious to the economic pressures faced by so many in the legal profession and don't consider themselves to be subject to the same pressures.

"Frankly, amidst the meltdown of the entry-level lawyer job market, I am surprised by the lack of significant interest or attention by legal academics, at least as judged by blogosphere traffic. It is all-too-easy to assume that the market will rebound next year, or 2011 at the latest. To this I might ask, 'What is the basis for the optimism?' The salad days of 2004 to 2008 were driven by a Wall Street juggernaut that destroyed the U.S. investment banking industry, which was the historical client basis for the industry's most prestigious law firms," Hendrickson writes. "And here is a more pointed follow-up question, 'How much does the legal economy need to recover so that our students can to support their debt load?'"

He continues: "It is one thing to acknowledge that we lack good answers--that part is forgivable. But it is quite another to ignore or minimize the problem because, quite frankly, it really does not affect us personally. All of this reminds me of my youth in Cleveland, Ohio during the 1970s and 80s. Lots of my friends' parents worked for General Motors, which offered high pay, amazing benefits, predictable hours, and long vacations. No one else seemed to have it so good. I remember thinking at the time that GM was both complacent and invincible. It turned out that I was only half right. So I worry about my own industry. Do I have the mindset of a GM employee circa 1979? God, I hope not."

Read the entire post here.