Larry Ribstein: “If we had a free market in legal education, the problem of over-priced law review articles and overpaid law professors would vanish.”

August 19th, 2011

Speaking the truth on the legal profession and law schools.

This brings us to the most important problem, which LawProf himself noted without elaboration:  regulation of the legal profession constrains meaningful reform of legal education.  Among other things, mandatory accreditation imposes high costs on law schools and requires three strenuous years of education for everybody who wants to “practice law,” which embraces a bewildering variety of jobs.  Those whose interests lie anywhere in this amorphous category must buy this education and only this education or submit themselves to their next best opportunity set, which in the current economy is not too attractive.  Compare, for example, business schools, which are not subject to rigid legally-imposed accreditation requirements and offer students a variety of models from which they can choose. . . . In the absence of a reliable Platonic metric we let the market tell us.  If the demand for the current style of law school persisted in a deregulated market, so would $100,000 law review articles.