by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Chris West writes for the Martin Center about the impact of legal innovations on law schools.
The world of law school and the legal profession is in turmoil. This is because there are not only many market distortions at play, but because the economy is undergoing transitions.
One of these distortions is the overabundance of federal aid, especially loans that allow law schools to maintain high levels of enrollment. Schools are even able to raise tuitions even as the legal profession faces a labor supply glut. Studies have shown that 10 months after graduation, only 73 percent of law school graduates from the class of 2016 had found full-time jobs in the legal field or a position that uses their legal training.
As can be expected in such a chaotic environment, innovations are appearing in response to the distortions and market shifts. Whether they are actual solutions to the most important problems remain to be seen; it may be that the legal industry and its academic component need much more dramatic and fundamental changes for solutions to occur.
Three innovations have already made some inroads into legal education and accreditation. The first is the acceptance of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) as an admissions test for law school in place of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Both the GRE and LSAT test for language skills, interpretation of texts, and logical reasoning, but the GRE also has a quantitative portion that the LSAT lacks.