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Failing Law Schools (Chicago Series in Law and Society) Hardcover – June 15, 2012
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Tamanaha first sets his sights on law professors, showing their pernicious effects on law schools both through the ABA-accreditation process (Part I) and through the law school itself (Part II). He then shifts his focus to the malignant effect on law schools of a single ranking--the US News (Part III), before showing why the law school model is broken and suggesting what to do about it (Part IV).
Law professors have proved a potent special interest force both within and out of the law school. It was they who convinced the ABA to mandate a third year of legal education and to adopt accreditation standards that put a premium on well paid tenure-track professors (the ABA had to backtrack somewhat from the latter in response to a DOJ antitrust suit). Professors have also effectively lobbied for the same within the law schools themselves. No dean can withstand the wrath of a unified faculty.
The law is curious among academic programs for being dominated by a single ranking. The law is prestige driven as it is, and the U.S. News & World Report ranking is waited on with bated breath each year by potential applicants. And so "[t]he annual pronouncement of the surviving rump of a defunct magazine thus mercilessly lords over legal academia." Manipulation is the rule of the day.Read more ›
The book is divided into four parts and some 14 chapters, preceded by an interesting prologue in which the author recounts his experiences as dean at St. John's. The first part deals with his view that law schools are largely self-regulating and utilize this power for their own (and not their students') betterment. The influence of the American Bar Association on legal education is highly detrimental, since it results in excessive faculty retention, uniform legal education no what what the character of the individual school and its students may be, and the inability to use adjunct professors to keep costs down. Moreover, clinical or practical legal education is reduced to a second class status.
Part II takes aim at law professors, by examining their light teaching loads, and the intense pressure to publish, both of which drive tuition costs up. Law professors, the author maintains, generally have had little practical experience themselves, and their published output is largely detached from law and of little use to lawyers and judges in their actual work.Read more ›
If you are a student considering a legal career, this book is a "must read" prior to sitting for the LSAT. The calculus prospective students should make (page 155-157), which sets out a theoretical "monthly budget" for new lawyers starting out, should be mandatory reading for all prospective law students, as this monthly budget will become your life if you took out loans during law school. Additionally, the overview of the ranking system used by Law Schools and big firms will be useful in helping potential law students find out what their career prospects are in light of the school they are attending.
If you are an attorney, judge or professor, I would read this book to understand the crisis rising in the legal profession in regards to oversupply of lawyers with no practical experience and incredible student loan debt. The discussion of the forces and history that shaped the current legal education model are also a worthwhile return on the time invested in reading this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good book, I felt it needs some updating. It is also interesting that a law professor wrote it (although from a top school) statements made against interest are statements that... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Veritas
I have been a trial lawyer for 30 years. Finally, Prof. Tamanaha courageously calls out the fraud and gaming rampant in the system, especially regarding US News & World Report.Published on July 6, 2014 by Amazon Customer
The problem now is the economics of law school do not add up. The tuition is too high except for the few who get the big law job and slave at it for a least a few years. Read morePublished on May 3, 2014 by Mark Andrus
Based on a number of key indicators, law schools, at least on the surface, appear to be thriving. Enrollments are on the rise at many institutions, finances appear to be healthy,... Read morePublished on February 5, 2014 by Connecticut Commentator
1. Read the book.
2. Read the book.
3. Read the book.
4. And this is critical in order to reduce your risk----DO NOT TAKE PRIVATE STUDENT LOANS--to finance a law... Read more
A real eye-opener if you or your child is thinking of law school. Read this book first before you make that decision.Published on July 25, 2013 by Robert
This book is professionally written. It isn't just a poorly thought out slam job. I rated it as four stars but I would be hard
pressed to think of an improvement.
An excellent study. While I may disagree with on some recommendations Dean Tamanaha's findings are compelling. Read morePublished on March 19, 2013 by jimwass