Wednesday, October 13, 2010

2 million attorneys? Not as far-fetched as it might seem.

In a recent post I determined the year when our nation would surpass having 2 million attorneys and concluded that it would happen in 2035.  I used a year-to-year rate of increase in the amount of new JD production based on the average rate of increase over the past ten years and assumed that new graduates would work for 40 years on average.  Privately, I had thought that the increasingly large class sizes were a little far-fetched.

However, as evidence that this seemingly nonsensical scenario may not be as implausible as it may seem, consider the fact that several colleges are planning to open new law schools in the near future (and to presumably seek ABA accreditation).  Some of the new or planned schools are: Concordia University School of Law, Louisiana College School of Law, University of North Texas College of Law, a law school at Binghamton University, Southern New England School of Law (U. Mass), and Belmont University College of Law.

As long as students can continue to easily obtain loans and law schools continue to serve as university profit centers, more and more two-bit colleges will want to open their own law schools. Two million lawyers, here we come!

EDIT. I've also come across talk about the a school in Delaware's wanting to open up a new law school. Same for the Kaplan test prep company. Also, now the ABA is contemplating accrediting foreign law schools! You may soon also be able to add schools in Peking and one in India to the list.

EDIT May 16, 2011.  I've just read a post reporting that Indiana Tech is planning to open a new law school.  Since the time of the last edit, I've come across several similar reports about other new law schools.

EDIT July 17, 2011. According to this profound article in the New York Times about law school economics, the law schools pumped out 49,700 new JDs (either this year in 2011 or 2010; I can't tell which specific year was referred to). I had previously thought that the new JD production rate was about 45,000/year. That amount of increase in the rate of JD production makes the prospect of having 2 million attorneys increasingly realistic.


Nando said...

Two million attorneys for at most 500K lawyer jobs.

I went off about the legal industry to a toiletlawyer. He said that it is a good "profession." The bastard happens to be in his 50s and went to a state school. (He CLEARLY does not understand the staggering debt levels for recent graduates.)

At the end of the discussion, he mentioned that he is "married to a lady of significant property." Turns out the lady owns some commercial and realthy spaces. She also supports this ass-munch. If I had that meal ticket, I might think that law is a good "profession" too. Apparently, too many people cannot look outside their little three foot circle.

Anonymous said...

In Scott Turo's book "one L," he mentions that he chose Harvard over Standford Law for one reason. That reason was that at the bottom of Harvard's class he was till gtd a job. After all, it was 1970 and with 100 Law Schools in existence "the job market was getting tight."

Today, there are 200+ Law Schools. Has the addition of Law School brought the rate for legal fees down? No. Do the poor have more access to Lawyers pro bono? NO. Is the legal market more professional? No. Law Schools are just cash cows to universities. the more I read about the topic the more I am convinced the ABA just does not care.

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