Shrinking the law school class

The University of California’s Hastings College of Law is cutting back on its 1L class this year.  The school (whose in-state tuition is now apparently a staggering $46,575 a year) will

This may be motivated by concern for students, or by a desire to keep Hastings’s LSAT scores high, or both.  But it’s a good move.  The glut of lawyers isn’t down here at the fourth tier, it’s at the top.  If, for example, all of the law schools in U.S. News’s “unranked” list were to close, the effects on Harvard and Yale grads would be minimal.  Those aren’t the folks lining up to take jobs as prosecutors in Palo Pinto County, immigration lawyers in Laredo, or family lawyers in Abilene.  We’d still have the same group of whining top-tier grads sitting in Boston and New York and claiming there are “no jobs.”  Representing folks with DUIs and drug possession charges in Palestine, Texas, is not what an elite law school grad thinks of as “a job.”

Meanwhile, shutting down the unranked law schools would have a devastating effect on the 99 percent of the population that is not planning on being reprpresented by Sullivan & Cromwell.

So Hastings has taken a big step, one that the elite schools should follow.  Cutting down class sizes substantially would increase the chances your grads will get jobs, without doing harm to anyone else.


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