The Minnesota Lawyer blog's JDs Rising blog recently published an article about a lawyer's interview with ABA (Law School) Accreditation Committee chair Jay Conison, who is the Dean of the TTT Valparaiso University School of Law. It was reported that Conison doesn't have the authority to speak for the ABA or the Committee, but could speak based on his own experience.
The interview (or at least the article) produced few revelations other than standard claptrap about how the ABA can't really do anything to remove accreditation from law schools and how the ABA wants to increase the standards and transparency in employment statistics.
The article didn't seem to mention whether or not Conison addressed the real issue nor whether the interviewer asked any substantive questions: Is the ABA at all concerned about the problem of lawyer overproduction? If so, what is the ABA doing to address this humanitarian crisis of having tens of thousands of highly-educated yet student-loan-debt ridden and impoverished lawyers?
I suspect that the ABA is not concerned about it all. The people who sit on these committees have done very well for themselves and many, such as Dean Conison, have a pecuniary interest in lawyer overproduction. (What would Conison do if Valparaiso's law school closed because no one wanted to enroll at TTTs anymore?)
If the ABA were truly concerned, it could probably address the problem of lawyer overproduction without violating any antitrust consent decrees. The ABA could probably increase the standards for accreditation and require a very detailed and transparent reporting of employment statistics. Most importantly, the ABA could warn prospective law students about the reality of the legal profession and strongly recommend against going to law school. If the ABA did this, it would send a loud message and might reduce the amount of JD production.
That the ABA has refused to do any of that is evidence that it is not sincerely concerned about lawyer overproduction, lawyers’ financial well-being, and the quality of lawyers’ lives. Also, I doubt that the ABA's consent decree requires it to accredit foreign law schools and to approve the foreign outsourcing of legal work.
If Dean Conison were willing to discuss this further and face the scambuster blogger and JD Underground crowd, what questions would you want to ask him?