Zombie Law Schools
Here is the first observation that I want to make. Everybody knows that law school applications are way down. You would think that this would lead to a contraction in law schools. But that has not happened. Instead, MORE law schools are opening. How can this be?
The answer is that law schools are profit centers for universities, and therefore there is a powerful interest in creating them or keeping them going. Most university departments lose money. Revenues are concentrated in professional schools or a handful of departments that generate grants–sciences and engineering. Moreover, many universities want a law school because, as one administrator told me, it makes the campus “look better” for undergraduate and graduate applicants.
What this means is that any law school that is connected to a university will not be allowed to fail, even if the same school standing alone would. These zombie law schools are going to prevent the market from clearing, with adverse consequences for faculty and students. More on that later.