Calling the presTTTigious law school cartel out has now evolved from scamblogging into a 2nd Circuit judge speaking at a legal educators convention.
There's an interesting National Law Journal article, one of several I've read, on the Association of American Law Schools annual meeting. The conference focused on the sorry state of legal education. Given that the participants were mostly the ones responsible for the sorry state of legal education, albeit with lots of help from Uncle Sugar, the hand-wringing was about as contrived as the grieving at a North Korean dictator's funeral. At the end of the day, they said much and will accomplish about as little as OWS.
Enter Judge Cabranes. Cabranes is the stuff of TLS wet dreams, though they'd probably ban his ass posthaste if he ever showed up there. The judge has three issues with legal education: Cost, student debt, and irrelevant scholarship by the faculty. His proposed solution involves a two-year curriculum of core courses — Space Law is OUT — followed by a third year either apprenticing with practicing attorneys or working, for compensation, in a school clinic. Schools would lose out on the third year of tuition. Sounds promising, but if it stood a snowball's chance in hell of being taken seriously, the judge would find a horse's head in his bed. I have my own thoughts on legal reform that differ markedly from the judge's; however, he has to deal with the schools' output on a daily basis and is in a better position to speak than I am.
The main import from all this isn't that legal education sucks or that people are philosophizing about solutions. Instead, it's the level at which the discussion is occurring. Not too long ago, someone making these comments would have had to post them anonymously and accept being scorned as a bitter loser who didn't network hard enough, and he or she would mostly be preaching to the choir. Now, the comments are coming from the top of the "profession" and being delivered straight to the academy.
C'mon, Congress, it's time for the hammer.