OPINION: George Leef - American Law Schools: Becoming More and More Dysfunctional

OPINION:  George Leef - American Law Schools:  Becoming More and More Dysfunctional

Law school in The United States used to be merely a needless barrier to entry into the market for legal services, helping to keep down competition. Starting back in the 1920s, the American Bar Association started flexing its muscles to prevail upon states to forbid anyone from taking the bar exam who hadn’t graduated from an ABA-accredited law school. The ABA insisted that law school take three years. Prior to that time, many lawyers attended shorter law school programs or learned what they needed to know on the job without going to law school at all.

The simple fact of the matter is that there is no piece of knowledge or skill that can only be learned sitting in a law school classroom. The mandatory three years of that is entirely unnecessary. (I have been making that argument for a long time; see, e.g., this 1997 article in Regulation magazine.)

Then, starting in the 1970s, the academic left began infiltrating law schools with courses and programs intended to turn out “progressive” radicals, as Professor Charles Rounds explained in a 2010 article for the James G. Martin Center, “Bad Sociology, Not Law.”

Of late, matters have taken still another terrible turn. The problem is that “woke” law students are beginning to rule the roost with their demands for ideological purity. And even though they’re merely students, they tend to get their way because the higher ups don’t want to confront them.

Read more at AIER.org


Leef is director of editorial content for the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Carroll College (Waukesha, WI) and a juris doctor from Duke University School of Law. He was a vice president of the John Locke Foundation until 2003.