Last Friday, the Dean of Brooklyn Law School, Nicholas Allard, published an op-ed in The Hill that theorized a recent minor uptick in the number of law school applications was due to “the intense interest among many Millennials in issues of social justice and the urge to make a positive difference.”
More specifically, Dean Allard pointed to the hordes of attorneys and law students that packed airport terminals in January to provide counsel to visitors caught up in President Trump’s poorly conceived immigration ban. In the dean’s opinion, these activists inspired new law school applicants “like the generation inspired by Woodward and Bernstein to pursue careers in journalism.”
There are entrenched, systemic problems in legal education — over-valued sticker prices, nearly insurmountable student loan debt, curricular requirements that skimp on teaching real lawyering practices — that guarantee law school is a bad choice for many or most students. Dean Allard is making an emotional appeal, but the truth is that legal education is undergoing permanent changes. These changes mean that fewer students should go to law school, constitutional crisis or not.
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