Being 16 of 203 [law schools] is more prestigious than being 16 of 16.From this Newtonian observation by Anonymous, we can derive a simple theory: A greater number of law schools total makes every school except the bottom of the bottom ("PD academies") more prestigious. Conversely, if law schools unfortunately close, suddenly otherwise-reputable schools like Florida, Arizona State, and Brooklyn may find themselves in the fourth tier.
We must prevent that from happening. Do you really want to live in a world where a fine school like American is a bottom-feeder? Of course not! Those who bemoan schools like Thomas Cooley simply don't understand how the prestige pyramid works. You have a whole bunch of drones at the bottom, and they buoy up everyone else to ever-greater heights. Cooley didn't destroy legal education; it was trying to establish yet another base in the pyramid to make schools like Wayne State and Detroit look like sparkling rays of sunshine shooting from a unicorn's eyes.
Lest you think this theorem indefensible and reckless, I give you the Great State of California. There are dozens of unaccredited schools in California; yet, their role, educating high-quality lawyers, has done nothing to stop the prestige of Stanford and Cal-Berkley. Indeed, California is only one of three states to have multiple T-14s (to say nothing of the surplus of T2s like UCLA, USC, Pepperdine, UC-Irvine, Loyola, etc.). And of course, relatively, those type of unaccredited "blue collar" institutions make places like UC-Hastings or Cal-Western look like Harvard.
Previously, I've explored potential other locations for law schools. I have realized that this might have too restricting of a view on my part. What we need is for the rest of the nation to implant the California model. According to crack research by the LSTC, California has sixty (60) law schools and a population of only thirty-nine (39) million.
So California's ratio - which is obviously a successful number to generate fine schools like Stanford - would be roughly 1 law school for every 630,000 people. Current US Population is 319 million, so our actual number of law schools to achieve California-quality prestige and legal representation nationwide would be around 506.
Examples of the severe shortfall of law schools to achieve this ideal abound. Washington only has three law schools. It should have 11 or 12. Wisconsin has 2 law schools. It should have 9 or 10. Ohio, with 9 law schools, is underlawschooled by 10.
When folks like Professor Seto talk about an impending lawyer shortage, it's not a great revelation to figure it out; we simply haven't considered that maybe the legal education industrial complex's problem isn't too many law schools, but too few. Plus, as everyone knows, more competition always means a better result for consumers.
It's not just a matter of running out of lawyers.
It's a matter of running out of prestige.