Saturday, February 27, 2016

Valpo Reformers Endangering Appropriate Legal Market Saturation

Just a few years ago, we built a brand spanking new spaceport for rocketing million-dollar careers in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  You might know it as Indiana Tech.  Before they built it, they did a peer-reviewed feasibility study upholding the highest in scientific and statistical virtue that showed, very clearly, that the state of Indiana was facing a dire lawyer shortage and had an unmet demand for legal education.  The rational conclusion, based on all the available science, was to build another law school.

Now, Valparaiso - a mere 100 miles away - is downsizing its law school.
Facing a sharp decline in student applications and enrollment at its law school, Valparaiso University is offering tenured faculty and those with multi-year contracts a buyout.
...
[Spokesperson Nicole] Niemi said the purpose of the buyouts is to align the size of the faculty with the expected future law school enrollment.
I understand I'm normally fully supportive of how America's accredited law schools teach the next generation of white-collar juris-heroes how to kick injustice in the dickhole.  But good God, what a confused message.

Contrary to the reasoned analysis of Indiana Tech's study, Valparaiso's decision smacks of knee-jerk irrationality that essentially caved in to short-sighted thinking.  We know what the future holds for the legal profession, and it's a tidal wave of Baby Boomer Barrister's dying and retiring, falling like dominoes that jeopardize the Rule of Law in North America, leaving rural areas functioning with only 1 lawyer to every 0.6 actual, lawyer-able legal issues, a ratio of great peril for the genetic fiber of our society's judicial branch.

Departing from this truth because you want to save a few dimes here and there is not only reckless, but "right-sizing" sends the wrong message to students: that there's somehow less demand for lawyers despite our expanding population and increasing justice gap.

Please note that my discussion about the pending lawyer shortage isn't completely concocted like the Great American STEM Shortage.  This shit's real, and we to scold schools like Valparaiso for disregarding rationality and making possible a future where the yellow pages may not be stuffed with solo and small-firm attorneys chasing the legal dragon.  Bad, Valpo.  Bad.

8 comments:

  1. Were we to stop this instant, taking into account the number of unemployed JD's, how far into the future would that supply cover demand?

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  2. I most enjoy the portion from the linked article: "Valparaiso University President Mark Heckler said the school is going to ensure the caliber of students coming in will be successful. . . . In order to get those kind of students we're going to be smaller and we're going to offer more financial aid than we've ever offered before to very talented students and give them a great education" [Heckler] said.

    This reminds me of that scene when Austin Powers finally heard of news that happened when he finally thawed from being frozen. A mere 2 years after Valpo increased its class size by 25% and dropped the LSAT by 6 (!) points in the process, the guy finally finds out?

    The school's median matriculant has a sub-3 GPA and can only manage a 25th percentile LSAT score. The most recent 509 report shows a pass rate 19% (!) lower than state averages. WTF has Heckler been doing for the last 3 years that kept him from hearing about the dire state of his school?

    What's surprising is that Valpo could be so complicit in letting its "Law School" become garbage. Its undergrad is borderline-respectable within the region.

    To quote a commenter from TaxProf Blog "It Valparaiso wants to know its optimal enrollment for 'right-sizing,' I suggest the number is 0."

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  3. At least, fewer Valpo Law grads will be eating Alpo dog food as a result of financially ruining themselves in the pursuit of "higher education."

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  4. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingFebruary 28, 2016 at 8:17 AM

    This Alpo thing is really blow to Indiana. That is where Prince Charles spent his honey moon. In Diana is really a dystopian flat ugly landscape consisting of CVS stores, diabetes clinics, Walmarts, new jails, Chick Fil A's, Gary and RV dealers. The governor shut down the one Planned Parenthood and the STD rates soared. Valpo was a breath of intellectual fresh air...sad really. Maybe In Diana Tech will take up the torch...

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  5. Maybe McCooley will buy up Valpo and Indiana Tech by way of extending its regional empire of excellence into northern Indiana. Overnight those twin Hoosier pearls of juristic glory would soar to the rank of #2, according to the unbiased, scientifically determined, and widely respected Cooley ranking (https://web.archive.org/web/20120109033232/http://www.cooley.edu/newsevents/2011/020411_judging_the_law_schools.html).

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  6. Law schools only care about saving faculty jobs. To law schools, the "crisis" is not unemployed graduates saddled with debt. The "crisis" is their funding.

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    Replies
    1. You can see that exact sentiment reflected on the Faculty Lounge Blog. Their response is that they gave us "the tools." This one Drexel professor is quoted on the Law Lemmings blog blaming students and practicing attorneys for their plights.

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  7. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingFebruary 28, 2016 at 6:38 PM

    I am terribly sorry. I forgot one prominent feature of the In Diana landscape. Lots of used car lots containing Pontiacs, Saturns, Isuzus, Sazukis, Daewoos, Oldsmobiles, and tons of mid-90-00s Cadillacs.

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