Bar Associations Threaten Online Law Schools
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  • Anthony

    Professional guilds and interest groups function similarly in a market economy as Francis Fukuyama intimates: to further clientelism. Question becomes can market sustain guild/interests in changing environment?

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    The monopolistic behavior of medieval Guilds, who limited membership to lessen the competition, was a major inefficiency of medieval times. That such monopolistic behavior is still tolerated today is a terrible shame. As we well know, it is the feedback of competition that forces the continuous improvements in Quality, Service, and Price which are the hallmarks of the free enterprise system.

  • Walter Sobchak

    A 2 year program at a community college should be enough to allow people to take the bar exam. The real problem is that the number of new law grads is irrelevant. There are so many existing ones who are unemployed, that there is no shortage of lawyers.

  • Chase

    Spot on professor!

    Something has to give. The law schools have only themselves to give. In the 70s and 80s, law school tuition was affordable, even at private schools. Since private law schools cannot seem to contain costs, online programs are the way of the future. In california, online law grads are succeeding in fields like criminal defense where the skills are more practical- how to cross examine a witness, write a motion etc – than theoretical. Not everyone can afford 200k for a law degree (in Massachussetts and Rhode Island, for example, don’t even have one public law school, and public law schools aren’t exactly cheaper anymore.)

    The problem has to do with how can we make change happen with the bar association holding the trump cards. Your blog posts on this issue have been great, but it would be even better if we could get some members of congress, or state governors to come out in favor of these ideas, thereby putting real pressure on the state bar associations, which at present seem impervious to persuasion of that kind available at places like via meadia.

  • Kansas Scott

    Agree.

    All of the guilds are going to need to adapt or perish. From this morning’s Kansas City Star an article on how the Kansas Dental Association worked to stop proposed legislation that would have allowed the use of dental therapists to do basic dental work: http://midwestdemocracy.com/articles/plan-to-provide-more-dental-help-in-kansas-gets-pulled/.

    I’m starting to think that people don’t like change.

  • Kris

    [email protected]: “it would be even better if we could get some members of congress, or state governors to come out in favor of these ideas”

    These ideas would generally make law seem less prestigious. Remind me what percentage of Congress are lawyers?

  • stan

    One should be able to “read for the bar”. Perhaps sit for the exam after serving an apprenticeship with an attorney.

  • Richard F. Miller

    @ Chase.

    I agree with all your points save one: Massachusetts does have a public, i.e., state owned law school, and it is the University of Massachusetts Law School at Dartmouth.

  • Chase

    @ 8.

    Wow, this is new! Sorry, I was misinformed. When I lived in Mass – 2007 – this school was not there.

    Thanks for the info!

  • Kris

    [email protected]: “I’m starting to think that people don’t like change.”

    It’s not that I am opposed to change as such. Rather, I have a problem with the chaos resulting from people introducing change willy nilly. What we need is a government agency which would grant change licenses, ensuring that only properly trained and qualified people introduce changes into our society. This is the only way to achieve change we can believe in.

  • Corlyss

    Several years ago Virginia revived the ancient practice of training lawyers in law firms as opposed to law schools.

    Both the ABA and the AMA should be targeted and destroyed for what they really are: unions. The ABA has disgraced itself for decades as being some kind of gatekeeper for Federal bench and SCOTUS nominees in terms of “liberal ideological purity.” They routinely disparage as “unqualified” well-qualified conservative nominees because they are conservatives. Unions do only one thing, but they do it very well: they drive up costs by setting artificial limits on supplies of the product. It wasn’t until the 70s that SCOTUS broke down the ABA barriers against advertising. As I recall, even today, no lawyers except patent attorneys are allowed to advertise that they are specialists in a given area of the law.

  • Corlyss

    “Via Meadia thinks entry into the legal profession needs to become cheaper and more democratic.”

    In one respect I disagree with the good professor. The US needs to stop incentivizing litigation. Class action suits should be eliminated – they make lawyers agents of shake-down rackets. The incentives should drive future litigants to alternative dispute resolutions. We need to stop thinking of the courts as the ultimate arbiters of behavior.

  • IllinoisCynic

    Abraham Lincoln was self taught from law books and Blackstone’s Commentaries, yet was admitted to the Illinois bar, and became a successful attorney who argued a case before the Supreme Court. Enough said!

  • The Bar Association? Every profession is a conspiracy against the public George Bernard Shaw once said. This is a case of that.

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