Upcoming lawyer face enormous financial debt from college only to enter into a legal market with no available jobs. Despite this disheartening fact, William Robinson, the president of the American Bar Association, thinks that law students should have researched the market more thoroughly to understand what they were getting into.
In response to a great deal of criticisms from the media, law students and even Congress, Robinson stood his ground and backed it up with the fact that any student interested in law school would already have an undergraduate degree or higher.
“It’s inconceivable to me that someone with a college education, or a graduate-level education, would not know before deciding to go to law school that the economy has declined over the last sever years and that the job market out there is not as opportune as it might have been five, six, seven, eight years ago. We’re not talking about kids who are making these decisions,” he said.
During the Great Recession of 2007, United States legal jobs shrank dramatically. The huge drop in the market has led many critics – among them being two United States Senators – to ask whether to ABA works hard enough to watch law schools. Allegations say that many statistics given to prospective students by a handful of schools project incorrect statistics regarding the market.
Several media outlets have questioned the process for law school accreditation. They suggested that the American Bar Association encouraging tenure, and some other standards, causes law school costs to unnecessarily rise.
Robinson believes those accusations have no standing. He contends, “None of the studies show that the ABA rules of certification are what’s responsible for the cost of legal education. Other factors, such as competition for professors, are driving the increase in cost.”
He continued by recalling his past with paying his way through University of Kentucky’s Law School in 1971, “When I was going to law school, and I sold my Corvair to make first-semester tuition and books for $330, a sizeable portion of the faculty had tenure. They had tenure then and they have tenure now.”
Nearly 68 ABA-accredited law schools keep tuition near or below $25,000 for those needing a low cost option. However, the American Bar Association is powerless when it comes to lowering the cost of elite law schools.
“I should take the lead in telling these schools that they should reduce their tuition to $25,000 a year? No, I don’t think I should do that. I don’t think it would be meaningful. I don’t think it would accomplish anything for me to do that. It’s a complex question as to whether to cost is higher than it should be or is justified.”