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Lawyers are the New Teachers

A law degree has become the version, albeit a far higher priced one, of teaching certificate, to wit akin to worthless.  From the New York Slimes [1]:

In the last two years, at least 10 law schools have deliberately changed their grading systems to make them more lenient.  These include law schools [2] like New York University [3] and Georgetown [4], as well as Golden Gate University [5] and Tulane University [6], which just announced the change this month. Some recruiters at law firms keep track of these changes and consider them when interviewing, and some do not.

Law schools seem to view higher grades as one way to rescue their students from the tough economic climate — and perhaps more to the point, to protect their own reputations and rankings.

Our founding blogger can attest, that trucking firms don’t want people with driving certificates.   They want people who can drive trucks.   Likewise, law firms don’t want people with law school diplomas, they want people whn can do law.

Don’t believe me, how about John, Powerline: [7]

The Law of  Supply and Demand Strikes the Law Business

[…]

The reality is that any society–even ours–has a limited need for lawyers. I’m reminded of a cartoon in the New Yorker from several decades ago. Two people are talking at a cocktail party; one of them says to the other: “How did I know you’re a lawyer? Simple: everyone is a lawyer.” That was how things seemed to be going during the 1970s, but like all trends, this one couldn’t continue forever.

Mixing chafe with wheat will not result in law firms hiring more chafe.   It will  result in  after market   thrashing.

Professor Althouse [8] adds:

It’s not as if the students previously got the grades they deserved and now the grades are phony. When  lawprofs grade law school exams, we may start with raw scores that represent what we really think of them, but the final grades are determined by the school’s predetermined goals for averages and percentages at the various grade levels. If the school thinks those averages and percentages are set in the wrong place and it can reset them.

It never had to do with the actual performance of the students. It was always about where the school, as a matter of policy, decided the grades ought to be. It was always about communicating with law firms and other employers in the hope of advantaging our graduates in comparison to other law schools’ graduates. We’re all lawyers here.  This is all advocacy. Are you actually surprised?

What is a credential worth?   Not what the issuer says it worth, but rather what a prospective buyer, to wit law firm, perceives it to be worth.   Justice Clarence Thomas related how his Yale law degree was near worthless.   Employers perceived it to be an affirmative action degree and not a real one.