David Frum

02.08.13

Making Law School Less Terrible

The Economist enters the fray on the idea of eliminating the third year of law school. Frum Forum discussed this in 2011.

Members of a group that benefits from the current system—the professors—have started to speak up. Paul Campos of the University of Colorado writes a blog called “Inside the Law School Scam”. Brian Tamanaha of Washington University has published a book called “Failing Law Schools”. And on January 18th the law school of New York University (NYU) held a discussion on a reform that would jolt the system: cutting legal education by a year.

They also touch on ideas of wider reforms to the law school model.

The best lawyers made skyscrapers-full of money, tempting ever more students to pile into law schools. But most law graduates never get a big-firm job. Many of them instead become the kind of nuisance-lawsuit filer that makes the tort system a costly nightmare. According to a study in 2006, America has more lawyers per person of its population than any of 29 countries studied (except Greece), and it spends two to three times as much on its tort system, as a percentage of GDP, as other big economies (except Italy, where things are nearly as bad).