I am in that camp. Economic and educational forces are combining in ways that will create a different world in which law schools will operate and lawyers will practice.
What are the economic forces?
- Law firms are shedding jobs that are not likely to be re-created when the recession ends.
- The remaining jobs will not pay so much as before.
- Students will be reluctant to take on large debt unless there are jobs waiting for them.
- Law Firms will demand job-ready applicants
- Calls for fundamental legal education reform are gaining momentum
- The ABA is moving toward outcome-based accreditation standards
- Students are demanding different approaches and want to see value for their tuition dollars.
Perhaps it will create a caste system for law school but, as UMKC Dean Ellen Suni said, "So what? We've got that already." Perhaps, mission driven schools will be able to pursue their vision and prospective students will recognize our value. (BTW, the Sam Cook original may be one of the greatest R & B songs ever. IMHO).