Phi Beta Cons

Re: Just What the World Needs

Given the glut of people with J.D.s who can’t find work in the legal profession (or can find only paralegal work), I can’t imagine anyone investing his own money in the building of a new law school. California built a new, utterly superfluous law school at UC-Irvine a few years ago, and now there is a proposal for a new public law school in Texas. Maybe the pols in Texas will show more responsibility in the way they spend taxpayer money than those in California did.

The big problem with law school is that it doesn’t have to pass the test of the market since alternative means of teaching people what they need to know for legal practice are not allowed. Well, alternatives aren’t illegal, but if you want to become a licensed attorney, a degree from an accredited law school is the only possibility in most states. As I argued in this paper, we ought to deregulate not only legal education, but the entire profession. This is a classic instance of using the claim of public benefit as a smokescreen for regulations that cartelize a profession.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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