Thursday, December 04, 2008

Revisting my "why do we produce so many law school graduates?" rant

[WARNING: This post isn't about military justice.]

I previously ranted about the fact that our nation's law schools apparently spew out close to 44,000 new graduates each year. And I noted while my state of Maryland is in the midst of a horrible budget crunch, it supports two state law schools located within 1.52 miles of each other in Baltimore. Today I learned another fact that made me cringe even more. The state of Maryland is paying $92 million in public funds to build the University of Baltimore School of Law a new 12-story building.

Even if we were to accept the questionable proposition that the cash-strapped Maryland government should engage in some sort of Keynesian stimulus during this economic downturn, Maryland could at least buy something useful with its $92 million Keynesian jolt. Instead, it will get a 12-story glass "three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle" to replace an existing building that seems perfectly adequate for its task of pumping out its share of the nation's almost 44,000 annual law school graduates.

Heck, for $92 million, the Department of Defense could build six Centers of Appellate Excellence and still have $5 million left over to defend a couple of cert grants.


Anonymous said...

While I have no opinion about whether the new building is a good or bad idea, I would note that a law school education heavy on writing, analysis, and critical thinking skills is useful in almost any non-legal line of work. I'd be interested in how many of the grunch of new lawyers actually end up practicing law.

Cloudesley Shovell said...

My comments to your original rant are just as applicable here. No need to repeat.

There is a big financial bubble in higher education that looks a lot like the recent housing bubble. When is it going to pop? The bubble even has the same cause: gov't-backed loans handed out willy-nilly with no heed paid to ability to repay (and even worse, student loan debt is VERY difficult to discharge in bankruptcy).

Anon at 738am points out that a law school education provides skills in writing, analysis, and critical thinking. That may be true, but I thought that was what you were supposed to get in the course of your undergraduate work, or even in high school.

Dwight Sullivan said...

It's actually worse than I thought. An ABA Journal article from Wednesday indicates that there are "more than 150,000 students in law school."