Here’s a smart take on the current state of law schools from Jonathan Tjarks over at Policymic.com. It’s a rather depressing look at how the odds are similarly stacked against law school grads and college football players. After opening with a nice reference to Sudhir Venkatesh‘s study of the economics of crack from Chapter 3 of Freakonomics, Tjarks’ piece boils down to the following analysis:
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Admittance into a top-14 law school, like a scholarship from a top-10 college football program, is the culmination of a lifetime of striving. Of the over 100,000 high school seniors who play football, fewer than 3,000 sign Division I letters of intent. Similarly, the top 25% in Harvard Law’s 2009 class had an average GPA of 3.95 and a LSAT score of 175, which puts them in the 99th percentile of the over 100,000 test takers each year.
Yet, despite overcoming nearly impossible odds, each group still has the toughest test of their lives ahead of them — each other. NFL teams rarely draft players not at the top of the depth chart, even at powerhouses like Texas or Oklahoma. And even at Harvard or Columbia Law, “Big Law” firms — those with the coveted $160,000 starting salaries — don’t reach too far below the median class rank when selecting first-year associate.
The personal injury law firm Jacoby & Meyers (known for its TV commercials) is suing to overturn state laws in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut that prohibit non-attorneys from owning stakes in law firms. From The Wall Street Journal:
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The firm, which has more than 60 lawyers and specializes in personal-injury cases, claims that the restrictions have hurt its ability to raise capital to cover technology and expansion costs, and have hampered it in providing affordable legal services to its working-class clients.
U.S. law firms typically are owned by their senior-most lawyers, called partners. The structure was designed to ensure that all the principals of the business were accountable for the firm’s work and that of their fellow partners.