How are you? How is Mrs. Claus? How are the elves? I hope you are faring better with climate change up at the North Pole than the Polar Bears.
I have been extra good this year. I have not given any “Fs,” abused students, or yelled at colleagues. I have even restrained from rolling my eyes when people annoy me.
You may wonder what I want for the holidays. Last year, I asked you for a bike. Thank you for that. This year, I want something that will not only help me, but also my students and colleagues.
I want a benevolent monopolist. I know that sounds entirely like an oxymoron. I know that it sounds like it can’t possibly exist, but I’ve heard of little children asking you for unicorns. I’m not proud.
See, today, I was thinking. There appears to be a lot of articles saying “there are too many lawyers and not enough jobs.” And then there are articles saying just how wonderful it is to be in law school. Given that law school is so rewarding, and that there just aren’t enough jobs for all those people seeking a rewarding career, something has to be done. It seems hopeless.
It’s like the BP oil spill. Something went wrong. There was a flood of lawyers, and that flooding has been reduced but really hasn’t stopped. And where was the blowout preventer? Where was the gatekeeper?
We need a hero. Someone to save us from this marketplace.
We need a benevolent monopolist.
You may think that you have already given me this gift, Mr. Kringle. Perhaps you think that the ABA is an organization that seems like a good fit for that which I ask. Sadly, St. Nick, it isn’t. First of all, it doesn’t seem very benevolent to me. In my opinion, it is starting to have a track record of wanting to hurt us poor law professors.
But the real problem is that the ABA isn’t really a monopolist. The ABA should have been the blowout preventer here. Instead, it accredits law schools like blowout preventers stop oil spills in the Gulf. It doesn’t. We don’t need more law schools. Most likely, given the recession and decline in admissions, we will see fewer law schools.
It hasn’t even attempted to fix the quality of legal education. You can’t get a good quality education in a degree mill. The ABA doesn’t go after the schools causing this problem. It refuses to use its powers of oversight over the quality of legal education!
No Santa, the ABA is a defective toy. I can’t get it to work! : (
I think the ABA is afraid. It has hurt before by the antitrust bug. It was subject to a consent decree for being naughty. But everyone knows that those types of antitrust cases are dead. You can Google that.
It won’t even use its lobbying powers successfully to get after the whole issue of exporting jobs overseas. Many law jobs are being offshored. It’s time someone did something about that.
So, you see, Santa, that the ABA is not the benevolent monopolist I want. In terms of wielding its monopoly, it’s doing as good a job as OPEC.
Maybe you think that you’ve already given me this gift in terms of the State Bars. You would think that the state bars would get involved. They are quite used to restricting entry via the bar exam. Surely they can just decrease the bar passage rate and thereby limit the number of lawyers in each state. Of course, the problem is interstate competition and the market for legal services. Sigh.
The State Bars could help solve the problem, Santa. We all know that the bar exam doesn’t test whether or not you are really fit to practice law. It only tests whether or not you paid BarBri a few grand, and whether you can take multiple choice and essay exams. Really, haven’t students already done that? The State Bars could alter their Bar Exams in a way that would force students and law schools to really focus on what students need to know to practice law. But then again, I worry that the State Bars do not really meet the “benevolent” portion of my requirement. I could see this power being abused.
Maybe you think you’ve already given me benevolent monopolists in the form of law schools. With all due respect, HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. First of all, there is a problem with law schools colluding. We’ll call that the antitrust laws. From what I hear, it appears to be okay by the enforcement agencies if large firms dominate a market, but NOT okay for people to get together to collude and pretend they are large firms. That’s posing, I guess. Regardless, it would never work out, because the incentives are too disparate between the schools.
I understand if the gift I want is just too difficult to make. In which case, I want the elimination of U.S. News and World Report rankings and BarBri. Okay, okay. No unicorns, no matter how much they would benefit society. Maybe you could just give me an iPhone that makes phone calls and doesn’t drop signal.
I bet you’re asking why I always ask the impossible of you. It’s because I believe in you.