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Other titles in the Chicago Series in Law and Society series:

Failing Law Schools (Chicago Series in Law and Society)


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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

On the surface, law schools today are thriving. Enrollments are on the rise, and their resources are often the envy of every other university department. Law professors are among the highest paid and play key roles as public intellectuals, advisers, and government officials. Yet behind the flourishing facade, law schools are failing abjectly. Recent front-page stories have detailed widespread dubious practices, including false reporting of LSAT and GPA scores, misleading placement reports, and the fundamental failure to prepare graduates to enter the profession.

Addressing all these problems and more in a ringing critique is renowned legal scholar Brian Z. Tamanaha. Piece by piece, Tamanaha lays out the how and why of the crisis and the likely consequences if the current trend continues. The out-of-pocket cost of obtaining a law degree at many schools now approaches $200,000. The average law school graduate’s debt is around $100,000—the highest it has ever been—while the legal job market is the worst in decades, with the scarce jobs offering starting salaries well below what is needed to handle such a debt load. At the heart of the problem, Tamanaha argues, are the economic demands and competitive pressures on law schools—driven by competition over U.S. News and World Report ranking. When paired with a lack of regulatory oversight, the work environment of professors, the limited information available to prospective students, and loan-based tuition financing, the result is a system that is fundamentally unsustainable.

Growing concern with the crisis in legal education has led to high-profile coverage in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, and many observers expect it soon will be the focus of congressional scrutiny. Bringing to the table his years of experience from within the legal academy, Tamanaha has provided the perfect resource for assessing what’s wrong with law schools and figuring out how to fix them.

About the Author

Brian Z. Tamanaha is the William Gardiner Hammond Professor of Law at the Washington University School of Law and the author of six books, including A General Jurisprudence of Law and Society, Law as a Means to an End, and Beyond the Formalist-Realist Divide.

Table of Contents



PROLOGUE: A Law School in Crisis

PART I: Temptations of Self-Regulation

ONE: The Department of Justice Sues the ABA

TWO: Why Is Law School Three Years?

THREE: Faculty Fight against Changes in ABA Standards

PART II: About Law Professors

FOUR: Teaching Load Down, Salary Up

FIVE: The Cost and Consequences of Academic Pursuits

SIX: More Professors, More Revenues Needed

PART III: The US News Ranking Effect

SEVEN: The Ranking Made Us Do It

EIGHT: Detrimental Developments in Legal Academia

PART IV: The Broken Economic Model

NINE: Raising Tuition, Rising Debt

TEN: Why Tuition Has Gone up So Quickly

ELEVEN: Is Law School Worth the Cost?

TWELVE: Warning Signs for Students

THIRTEEN: Alarms for Law Schools

FOURTEEN: Going Forward 

EPILOGUE: A Few Last Words

APPENDIX A: List of Abbreviations 

APPENDIX B: List of Law Schools Referenced



Product Details

Tamanaha, Brian Z.
University of Chicago Press
Education-Higher Education
Edition Description:
Chicago Series in Law and Society
Publication Date:
8 line drawings
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Business » Tax Guides
Education » Higher Education
History and Social Science » Law » General
History and Social Science » Law » Schools and Careers

Failing Law Schools (Chicago Series in Law and Society) New Hardcover
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