The American Lawyer has announced the prophecy of all prophecies. In a Babe Ruth move, they held their bat up and pointed it to the center field bleachers. Instead of predicting a World Series win at Wrigley Field, The American Lawyer says 2015 is the year the law school crisis will end. It’s debatable which prediction was more far-fetched.
In the first of a two-part series, the stage is set on what could go right (or wrong) for law schools this year. The first argument for things getting better is so obvious, it is borderline scary. Lawyers will be increasingly needed as the population grows. That’s right. The future of the legal profession is safe based on overpopulation. You know what they say, more people, more problems. And more problems means more lawyers, apparently.
In 2013, Professors Ted Seto from Loyola Law School-Los Angeles forecasted that, “Demand for legal services … probably increases as population increases.” Seto predicted further that lawyers would be in serious demand in the fall of 2015 and “intensifying into 2016.” When Seto made that prediction, the total employment for legal services (non-lawyers included) In the United States was 1,133,800. At the end of November 2014 the number was 1,133,700. Wait, it decreased? Back to the drawing board.
Regardless, The American Lawyer also brings to light two potential reports in 2015 that could make their growth prediction seem true and create some false optimism in 2015. First, the American Bar Association has tacked onb another month before schools are required to report employment statistics. Instead of Feb. 15 after the graduating year, schools have until March 15 to report. Since Class of 2014 numbers won’t be reported until March 15 this year, comparing employment statistics from this year to previous years will be erroneous. The second report will come from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics and will be the topic of the Part II article.
The change stemmed from states like New York and California, whose employment stats are dragged down by later bar exams. The thought is an additional month will allow schools to report better numbers. That might be so, but the rebuttal is obvious. If there was ever a time for employment stats to be evaluated, it is now. Schools are changing curriculum and ramping up placement efforts. They need to know if their efforts are in vain or not. Oranges should be compared to oranges. Now they will be compared to apples.
Source: The American Lawyer
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