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Washington University in Saint Louis School of Law Professor Brian Z. Tamanaha argues law schools are failing abjectly. Recent front-page stories have detailed widespread 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 his book, Failing Law Schools, Prof. Tamanaha lays out the how and why of the crisis and the likely consequences if these trends continue. The out-of-pocket cost of obtaining a law degree at many schools now approaches $200,000. 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, Prof. Tamanaha argues, are the economic demands and competitive pressures on law schools, paired with a lack of regulatory oversight, the work environment of professors, the limited information available to prospective students, and loan-based tuition financing. Bringing to the table his years of experience from within the legal academy, Prof. Tamanaha assesses what he believes is wrong with law schools and suggests how to fix them. James Haynes of the Federalist Society's Professional Responsibility & Legal Education Practice Group Executive Committee discussed the book and its premises with Prof. Tamanaha.
- Professor Brian Z. Tamanaha, William Gardiner Hammond Professor of Law, Israel Treiman Faculty Fellow 2013-2014, Washington University School of Law
- James A. Haynes, Professional Responsibility & Legal Education Practice Group, The Federalist Society