“Legal education is a broken, failed, even corrupt enterprise. It exalts and enriches law professors at the expense of lawyers, the legal profession, and most of all the students whose tuition dollars finance the entire scheme. With hard numbers and piercing insights, Tamanaha tells the disturbing, scandalous truth. His book is essential reading for anyone who is even contemplating law school, much less committing to a career in law teaching. With any luck, it will inspire professors and law school deans who have no other career options to subject themselves to the deepest levels of ethical introspection, the better to lead legal education back into the service of its true stakeholders.”
James Chen, dean, University of Louisville
“Even those who disagree with Tamanaha and challenge his analyses will be participating in a conversation shaped by his contentions. Failing Law Schools presents a comprehensive case for the negative side of the legal education debate and I am sure many legal academics and every law school dean will be talking
Stanley Fish, Florida International University College of Law
Failing Law Schools
Brian Z. Tamanaha
|Publication Date: June 25, 2012 ||Cloth $25.00 • £16.00 |
|UK Publication Date: July 9, 2012 ||978-0-226-92361-1 |
In May, now-bankrupt law giant Dewey and LeBoeuf delivered the dismal news to its incoming interns: the prestigious positions they had been promised a year earlier—positions that often lead to lucrative full-time employment—had been dropped. With few prospects and just weeks before graduation, these students joined the ranks of recent law school graduates facing the worst employment outlook the profession has seen in decades. And those unemployed graduates are carrying a staggering average debt load of more than $100,000— leading to skyrocketing default rates and a series of lawsuits filed by former students accusing schools of widespread dubious practices, from skewed employment statistics to false reporting of LSAT scores and GPAs.
With Failing Law Schools, leading legal scholar Brian Z. Tamanaha offers a no-holds-barred look at the crisis in legal education, laying out the how and why of the crisis and the likely consequences if the current trend continues. At the heart of the problem, Tamanaha argues, are the economic and competitive pressures on law schools—driven by competition over U.S. News ranking. When paired with a lack of regulatory oversight, the limited information available to prospective students, and loan-based tuition financing, the result is a system that is fundamentally unsustainable. Many expect the legal education crisis will soon be the focus of congressional scrutiny. Bringing to the table his years of experience from within the legal academy, Tamanaha has provided the perfect resource for assessing what’s wrong with law schools and figuring out how to fix them.
Brian Z. Tamanaha is the William Gardiner Hammond Professor of Law at the Washington University School of Law and the author of six books. He is available for interviews.
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