Wednesday, May 25, 2016

UW-Tacoma? Yes. And How About UW-Walla Walla, Too?

From the Tacoma News Tribune ("TNT!"):
Lawmakers from the South Sound have recently championed adding a law school in Tacoma, even though law school graduates across the county are having trouble finding jobs as licensed attorneys.
UW officials say they’re working to determine whether there’s a demand for a law school at UWT before going forward and building it.

The university has hired a consultant to conduct a feasibility study to determine how much building a law school would cost, whether students would be interested in attending and whether jobs would be available for those students after they graduate.

“We can’t go into this with blinders on,” said UWT Chancellor Mark Pagano. “We are excited and enthusiastic about it, but we have to do our due diligence.”
No doubt they will do a responsible feasibility study like Charlotte and Indiana Tech.  No blinders.

There's a whole bunch of crap in the article, including some personal interest anecdote and commentary from Brian Tamanaha, who, years after last writing a comprehensive book on the subject, still feels somehow qualified to give his opinion.

Thankfully, the article balances it out with people who are living in 2016 and not 2013.
But the deans of the other two law schools in Washington state said the ABA employment numbers don’t always reflect the ways the legal profession is changing.
Today, many people enroll in law school without intending to work as lawyers, said Jane Korn, dean of the Gonzaga law school. They instead might want to do compliance work for the NCAA, or work in investment banking or the technology industry.
Kellye Testy, dean of the UW Seattle law school, said it’s possible that a law school at UWT could be more attractive to applicants and potential employers because it bears the UW brand.
Paula Littlewood, the bar association’s executive director, said the organization expects it could lose up to half its membership in the next five to 15 years.
Law school backers envision a law school that would be different from others in the state.  
Ah, that's the verbal opium my system loves.

The feasibility study practically writes itself.  That Tacoma is somehow operating without a law school is like a nuclear power plant running without a T-437.

Amid the classic arguments - retiring boomers, JD-advantage jobs, a "unique" fourth-tier fuckwad factory - I'm particularly delighted to see the estimable Kellye Testy whip out a new one:  the state school brand name argument.

We've already seen it work in other states.  IU-Indianapolis is one of the top law schools in Indiana.  Arkansas-Little Rock is the second best school in its state.  For a while, Rutgers had two schools that were neck-in-neck to be among the best in the northeast.  California's got like five schools milking the state school thing.

Frankly, more schools should try this.  Instead of "North Carolina Central" having a law school, why not call it "University of North Carolina Law School - Durham?"  Instead of "Western Michigan Cooley Whatever,' why not "University of Michigan Law School - Lansing Campus?"  Remember when they slapped Michigan State on some crap school and it shot up the rankings?

These aren't geniuses buying at sticker here.  Make every school a name brand and they'll be like 75k lining up to study Palsgraf and replace the masses departing the profession on their million dollar retirement savings.


  1. This has got to be, at least for 2016, the stupidest idea-ok, worst idea ever.
    Is there a limitless supply of taxpayer money available in Washington to fund this vanity project?

  2. While the pigs are at it, why not put in a law school in Marblemount, WA? According to this story, the town's total population was 203 people - as of the 2010 census.

  3. If they are going to create a new public law school to transfer wealth from poor working stiffs to lazy-ass rich folks, I think it should be

    Eastern Washington at Walla Walla, better known as Ewww ...

  4. I am a law school graduate who lives in Washington and I know better than spending money or time passing the bar exam here, because there are no real jobs. Look at how many people graduate here each year. Where are you going to work?!?!?!

  5. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingMay 26, 2016 at 8:26 PM

    Where would YOU rather attend? Indiana Tech or this Washington School? Soybean Fields, Chik-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, Used Car Lots OR Puget Sound, Pacific Ocean, Rain Forests, Mountains.

  6. Good Christ! of course the people of Washington need another law school. There are 7.1 million people in Washington and only three accredited law schools. I live in Tennessee where we have a population of 6.6 million and now have 5 accredited (or provisionally accredited) law schools: University of Memphis, Vanderbilt, Belmont, University of Tennessee and Lincoln Memorial. We also have a non-accredited law school, Nashville School of Law, which used to be named the YMCA Night Law School until they got all swank and market-y. With 6 law schools and over 1000 law graduates taking the bar every year, I still run into people on the street here every day whose legal needs aren't met. They avoid eye contact and mumble to themselves a lot. So, just forget the feasibility study and move straight to starting a class in Tacoma this Fall. There's probably a YMCA that could be used (empty yoga studio?) until sufficient funds are found somewhere to build a proper building.

    1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingMay 28, 2016 at 6:05 PM

      Wow, you guys are catching up to us in Illinois!!! We have only 9 schools and a mere 97,000 attorneys serving 12.8 million underserved souls. We have something in common besides I-55.