Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Law-Desolate Metro Areas and The Great Exit Plan

It's truly baffling that a school like Indiana Tech would be allowed, much less feel obliged, to close given that there are no other law schools in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area.  If the private market is unwilling, could not the public University of Indiana-Fort Wayne step up and give the state a third public law school to serve the dire need in a bustling metropolitan area?

An example: look to this letter to the editor from Charlotte, NC:
A good argument can be made that North Carolina is oversupplied with law schools. But all of them are concentrated in the Raleigh-Durham/Greensboro/Winston-Salem I-40 corridor.

A good solution to the Charlotte School of Law problem would be for UNC Charlotte to acquire the school... 
Let's break this argument down into its formal components.

Premise:  North Carolina is oversupplied with law schools.
Premise:  All of North Carolina's law schools are concentrated on one isolated, lonely stretch of major highway that connects multiple major metropolitan areas.
Conclusion:  UNC-Charlotte should buy up one that's already closing

In philosophy circles, this form of argument is known as argumentum whateverum.  There's a superficially obvious solution if Premises A and B are both true, as well as a secondary solution that would address both premises, yet the writer winds up ignoring Premise A entirely - it may as well be false - in developing a solution that in no way addresses its merits.

And frankly, it's understandable in this situation.  We've written before how research has shown that every major metropolitan area requires a school of law to be a real city.  Charlotte is the 24th largest metro area in the U.S.  Its peers - St. Louis, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh - average 1.5 law schools (higher if you count UC-Davis as being in Sacramento). 

We cannot let Charlotte become a pariah among these 3rd-tier cities.  It must keep its law school.

Really, this strategy should be the exit plan of any noble entrepreneur wishing to establish a for-profit law school.  Set it up in a good metro area, count the cash from Uncle Sam and then - when the spigot rudely shuts off - demand a bailout by way of acquisition from an established local school, preferably public so all that "serving the community" bullshit comes to fruition in a profitable way.

Recall that Texas Wesleyan was effectively bailed out by Texas A&M; that people in Charleston wanted to see the school merge with College of Charleston, and now Charlotte is desperate to keep the engorging prestige of a first-rate legal education enterprise.

I think now might be the appropriate time to plant a few other seeds.

The University of North Florida needs a law school, don't you think?  We can't leave Jacksonville naked!

Wouldn't Grand Canyon Law sound...dramatic?  #SaveLawSchoolinPhoenix

Atlanta needs three, don't you think?  Georgia. Tech. Law.

NYLS shouldn't close.  It should merge with Julliard!

[Name of new Law School in Barrow, Alaska] closing would imperil justice in all of the Arctic Circle! Ilisagvik College of Law has a nice ring to it!


  1. I won't be content until the Barrow School of Law is finally established. The Arctic Circle is clearly an underserved region.

    1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingDecember 27, 2016 at 9:30 PM

      It is underserved. With "drill baby drill" coming and tropical temperatures not far behind (it was 40 degrees there the other day when it is supposed to be -30) and unemployed coal miners flown there by the reconstituted Trump Shuttle, at least 4 new law schools will be needed.

  2. That "argument" is called a non sequitur, meaning in Latin 'it does not follow'.

    The entire Southeast is overserved by law skules. Of the bottom dozen (excluding those in Puerto Rico) with the lowest median LSAT scores, all but three are in the Southeast. That region has been an educational wasteland for 200 years or more, so it's no surprise that the foulest of the toilet schools are concentrated there.

  3. South Royalton, Vermont, has 700 people and one law school.

    The Charlotte metropolitan area has a population of more than 1 million, or some 1400 times that of South Royalton. Therefore, Charlotte needs 1400 law schools.

    The logic is impeccable.

  4. The distribution of law schools within a given city and its surroundings is also a matter of deep concern and may signal the need for additional law schools. The city of Chicago has five law schools, but three are located in the Loop, one is located on the Near North Side, and one is located in Hyde Park, on the south side.

    There are 700,000 people residing in suburban Lake County, which is a collar county situated well to the north of Northwestern Law School, the northernmost law school in the city. To them, the noble aspiration of delivering justice to the underserved and enjoying a one million dollar earnings premium in the process is but a mocking and distant dream, inaccessible without an expensive and time-consuming commute, typically on the Metra rail line, which often runs late.

    And the situation is only slightly less dire for the 900,000 people of the collar county of DuPage, west of the city, who are similarly bereft of a single law school to call their own.

    1. Oh, yes. God forfend that anyone should have to go more than a block or two to attend law school. Erect a goddamn law school on every corner.

  5. So, are you on board with building Wheaton College of Law?