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Are there too many law school graduates/students?

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36 minutes ago, booker said:

Well they certainly graduate with inflated GPA's that are not truly representative of where they stand academically. Reduced exposure to academic difficulty fuels the entitlement, in part, I think. 

Hmm, I don't think so.  Their has been some degree of grade inflation over the past few decades, but there's still a distribution, and it's more or less a bell curve.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Canadian law schools though have actually increased reliance on the GPA (I'm pretty sure). I don't think any such change such as the one you've alluded to has actually taken place.

Yes, they are relying more on GPA as research suggests it is more predictive of success in law school. I'd be interested to see which years of students were tracked to lead to the conclusion. 

Perhaps what I am trying to get at is something like this: your GPA is bell curved as @maximumbob points out, and it does represent where you stand relative to your peers, but what is the underlying absolute value behind the number, for you, and the rest of your peers as group of 'educated' individuals the world? Is a 3.7 today, the same as a 3.7 from yesteryear? Purely anecdotal - there seem to be lots of courses that don't develop your critical thinking (which could be a teaching consequence, testing methodology consequence, etc...) and other resourceful ways for the disinterested individual to skirt the development of same. So its a good thing something like the LSAT serves as a check in this regard, and as an opportunity for those with lower GPA's (for whatever reasons) to demonstrate that they have something valuable to offer. Moreover, with respect to hustling, which the entitled don't get - was more hustle required to get a 3.7 a decade ago? Was less required? Dunno.

All that being said, I think I'm projecting/rationalizing my saltiness towards how I had to put in so much more work than those around me to get the same result :unsure:

Edit: I suppose increased reliance on GPA answers my questions insofar as the GPA for admissions will start increasing.

Edited by booker
Answering my own questions

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Yeah. If GPAs started to mean less in terms of academic ability, you would see a decreasing reliance on it and increasing reliance on other things like standardized testing. In Canada at least, the opposite has been true. I don't buy your hypothesis.

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Posted (edited)

I don't understand how anyone can say there are too many lawyers when most people are unrepresented.

Clearly, we are lacking lawyers.

What we mean is that given the cost of going to law school, there are not enough decent paying jobs.

Clearly, we should have many more lawyers charging much less.

Edited by chirico
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I think that access to justice is a bigger deal than there being too many law school graduates. But I am not sure that our system is a cost-effective means of training lawyers for the masses. A degree that costs upwards of $150,000 in tuition and opportunity cost is not a viable means of giving people a lawyer when they are making $50k.

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8 hours ago, chirico said:

I don't understand how anyone can say there are too many lawyers when most people are unrepresented.

Clearly, we are lacking lawyers.

What we mean is that given the cost of going to law school, there are not enough decent paying jobs.

Clearly, we should have many more lawyers charging much less.

People aren’t under-represented because there is a shortages of lawyers.  They’re under-represented because they can’t afford to hire a lawyer - pumping out more lawyer so isn’t going to change that.

Now, you’re right, if he we had more lawyers charging less, that would address the problem.  But, and I’ve said this add nauseum, simply cranking out more lawyers isn’t going to materially drive down the price.  Quick, hands up, everyone who wants to take in an onerous, stressful, challenging profession for less money that you could make elsewhere?  The limiting factor on the price of legal services isn’t tuition or the supply of lawyers, it’s the fact that lawyers are generally drawn from a pool of smart, accomplished, high achieving people who can make good money outside of law.  You could pump out millions of lawyer, but unless you change that fact, the price of legal services isn’t coming down (though, I suppose, if you did crank out millions of lawyers, you’d start reducing the average quality and the average opportunity cost).  

Now, there are real solutions to access to justice, but they’re either politically unfeasible or people really dislike them.  One, obviously, is more funding for legal aid.  Well, good luck with that.  Another, I think more plausible one, is making it easier for low cost providers to provide legal services - expand the scope of work that paralegals can do.  That would likely result in a decline in the average wquality of legal services, but I’ve made the comparison before to other markets where we allow providers to provider lower quality, but cheaper, goods and services.  Volvo’s may be much safer than Chevids, but you can buy a Chevy if you want to.  Apples may be better at WHole Foods (or not), but you can shop at Walmart.  But, on the other hand, even then we set limits.

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8 hours ago, Mal said:

I think that access to justice is a bigger deal than there being too many law school graduates. But I am not sure that our system is a cost-effective means of training lawyers for the masses. A degree that costs upwards of $150,000 in tuition and opportunity cost is not a viable means of giving people a lawyer when they are making $50k.

I've never read or heard an adequate reason for requiring a degree before law school (in most circumstances, I know some exceptions but generally). Prestige to me is not a reason. Even if (that's if) it's necessary to get a university experience first, one year, or maybe two (second-entry, not second degree) would seem more than enough to me.

Also, law degrees are more expensive for reasons having nothing to do with the expense of teaching law. If expensive academics with doctorates are required for accreditation, that's an unnecessary expense for a trade school (if it's not a trade school, but purely academic, then also no reason for it to be more expensive than any other academic program requiring only academics to lecture, no lab work, etc.). If not required, it's an unnecessary expense. And the physical plant requirements compared with something requiring labs etc. are smaller. Law degrees are more expensive both because universities are allowed to charge more, and because there is enough demand they can charge more. If there were enough competition for accredited degrees (e.g. online - given how many law students seem to boast about not needing to attend class to pass, what purpose in requiring there to be a physical presence?).

So to me it seems something of a circular argument, law degrees are expensive both in money and opportunity cost, because we choose/allow them to be more expensive, when not actually required to adequately teach the law. Not that I know a huge amount about the English and Welsh barrister system of pupillage, but a simple undergrad degree followed by lengthier (than articles) pupillage to become called as a barrister would seem more likely to teach people what they need to know to be practising lawyers, more emphasis on supervised experience. If a system like that were more expensive it would at least be justified by being an attempt to improve competence. Solicitor process, I also know not a lot about.

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11 hours ago, chirico said:

I don't understand how anyone can say there are too many lawyers when most people are unrepresented.

Clearly, we are lacking lawyers.

What we mean is that given the cost of going to law school, there are not enough decent paying jobs.

Clearly, we should have many more lawyers charging much less.

Just look at the US, every university has a law school pumping out law grads at the speed of light. And? where is their access to justice? Flooding the province with unemployed or underemployed lawyers is no solution. 

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