Promotional materials for the law school now proclaim its institutional commitment to “progressive values” and “social justice.” Incoming students and faculty are told that, when it comes to the big issues of the day, the law school takes the “progressive” side.And blah blah blah. You've heard this story before: pissant conservative asshole preaches against the happy current for institutional recidivism, wanting to spoil everyone's good time of forced finger-painting because... I don't know, but he name-drops Louis Brandeis, for whom the school is named, which is particularly smarmy and lawyerlike...
The plan, in short, is to give the state-funded law school an “ideological brand.” (The Interim dean says it will help fundraising and student recruitment.) In 2014, the law faculty voted — over strong objection — to commit the institution to “social justice.” Now we’re at it again, seeking to brand ourselves “the nation’s first compassionate law school.”
I can't help but read misguided screeds like Milligan's and ask myself what is the purpose of law school? and the answer, which makes so much sense I cannot possibly see other approaches as even plausible, is that law schools exist to solve massive issues of social justice. At the end of the day, does anything matter in law or in serving (servicing, not working) as a lawyer if the task cannot be connected to the overarching concern that justice should be social? If it means that only 1/3 of our law graduates have meaningful jobs, is that not a worthy sacrifice in the name of our groupthink empire?
Recently, Kellye Testy, dean of Washington and President of AALS, gave an interview where she underscored this general concept in an astute response to a noisome question:
NLJ: It seems that the phrase “law school crisis” has died down a bit, yet enrollments and bar passage rates are still declining. Do you think legal education is still in crisis mode?You simply can't make this shit up. After the NLJ asked her a question with dubious factual foundation, the witty Dean Testy spiked that shit like it was prom punch with a brilliant example of antimetabole. Were she not a law dean helping solve the world's social justice crises, she could solve the world's social justice crises by writing speeches for Donald Trump or running for poet laureate.
KT: I don’t see legal education as being in crisis at all. What I do see is that there are a lot of crisis in our world that legal education can help address.
It is good to know that in a world of Milligans, skeptics who dare question the mission of a law school when it starts making people declare their sexual preferences and religious beliefs in a room full of near-strangers, that we have Testys, the lionhearted faithful who know that the only crisis in legal education is the vague social justice one presently on its plate.
Because I tell you, dear readers, there is no broad scam in legal education. There is only legal education within the broader scam.
Social justice on, comrades. Social justice on.