After Law School Deregulation

Dave Hoffman

Dave Hoffman is the Murray Shusterman Professor of Transactional and Business Law at Temple Law School. He specializes in law and psychology, contracts, and quantitative analysis of civil procedure. He currently teaches contracts, civil procedure, corporations, and law and economics.

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9 Responses

  1. Bob Lawless says:

    Sound about right? Only time will tell.

    OK, that was meant as dry humor and is probably too dry to qualify as humor. I wanted to ask about something in particular. Dave you suggest Nevada and Delaware might lead a charge against incumbent-protecting credentialing rules. Why pick these states and by what mechanism would they change? The Nevada bar is a master of incumbent protection. To be persuaded on the scenario you see, I need a more detailed story to understand how any state will take the lead in breaking up the market power of the cartels . . . er, bar associations.

  2. Dave Hoffman says:

    Sorry, I meant that states will act like DE/NV does in corporate law. I had thought of states like California, which takes the lead already in permitting foreign LLMs to graduate.

  3. Michael Cedrone says:

    Hmmm… You may be right about many of your predictions, but I want to focus on a small piece. What’s wrong with curriculum mapping, or, for that matter, interim and formative assessment? I do not mean to blindly endorse these steps, but both are sound, evidence-based practices that improve educational outcomes. Law schools would do well to consider them. Prior to my present career as a lawyer and law professor, I was a public school teacher and hold a degree from an education school. I do not understand the disdain in some quarters of the legal academy for the insights contributed by professional schools of education.

  4. A.J. Sutter says:

    I’m not sure I understand the “depressing the supply of lawyers” argument. Aren’t lots of lawyers out of work currently?

    Maybe more lawyers are needed in some fields, such as legal services for the poor. And maybe one could argue that because of the high cost of law school (which maybe one could argue has to do with the ABA, and not also, say, US News and university fiscal policies) new graduates don’t set their sights on such low-paying work.

    But even if law school were cheap, would enough new grads be attracted to that work to eliminate the shortage? Or would they still be attracted to higher-paying jobs? Moreover, why aren’t the unemployed lawyers flocking to fill the undersupplied niches?

    Mightn’t the existence of state bar licensing requirements, and the lack of reciprocity in some key states, have more to do with any undersupply problems? And, pace your scare quotes, maybe offshoring, too? And anyway, there is little empirical evidence to support the idea that everyone gets served in a deregulated market — especially people without money. But what other undersupply is there?

  5. dave hoffman says:

    I’ve read a bunch about curricular mapping. I think the “evidence” that it is useful is mixed. But I didn’t mean to be scornful: I simply meant that when we see YLS and HLS do it, we’ll know that regional, non-legal, accrediting bodies have started to make their presence known.

    This is an old debate, which we rehashed on the old thread. I’d rather not divert this particular discussion now, if it’s all the same to you! But in terms of “undersupply”, I was thinking primarily of Gillian Hadfield’s work, which I’m sure you are familiar with.

  6. dave hoffman says:

    As for interim assessments, I am very much in favor of them. They do, however, create some pressures on law schools’ business model. (Not that this is a bad thing – the model is broke!) Schools’ ability to adjust and support interim assessments/group work is limited by the ABA regs.

  7. Michael Cedrone says:

    David, thanks for your thoughtful responses… and forgive me if I implied that you know less about educational theory than you actually do!

    I think your views about interim assessment are exactly right. On the question of regional, non-legal, accrediting bodies, I would rather see legal academics engage in this work than have it imposed wholesale by nonlawyers. Let us decide whether curriculum mapping or capstone courses or experiential learning or whatever are helpful or not, and let us decide whether/how to use these tools. My own view is that some of this stuff is helpful and should be embraced, but I recognize that there is a legitimate debate on that point!

  8. Brett Bellmore says:

    Why bother accrediting the law schools at all? Just test anyone who wants to practice law in a state, and never mind how they think they got the knowledge to pass the test… Either they did, or didn’t, get it.

  9. A.J. Sutter says:


    Thanks for the reference. I wasn’t familiar with her work, but having taken a look at some of her articles on SSRN, I will indeed refrain from hijacking this thread with the deconstruction and critique they would otherwise have inspired. Suffice it to say that she isn’t concerned about the same folks being undersupplied as the ones I mentioned above. (Let the record show that I wasn’t thinking about “T&E work for the poor,”[@27] either.)