Sure, men and women enter law school who can't master the discipline and/or are unmotivated to try very hard. Two Yale professors recommend that they should be given a financial incentive such a refund of a percentage of tuition to leave, reports Christian Nolan in the CONNECTICUT LAW TRIBUNE. Those professors are Akhil Reed Amar and Ian Ayres.
That could put a dent in the number of people who pile up tuition debt and are unlikely to practice law. But it's not going to do much for the over-supply of JDs.
First, let's admit that we all know of successful lawyers who were weak students. Their family connections, marketing genius, or late blooming helped them establish careers practicing law. We also know of excellent students in top schools whose law careers were short. Usually they did get that first job but were knocked out of the box early in the game and not able to get back. In addition, we know of both weak and strong students who did make it all the way to the partnership cut, didn't make that, and are wandering out there unable to adjust in another field since they will not be making $300,000 in it.
That out of the way, let's concede that the glut of lawyers is a complex problem. Elie Mystal on Abovethelaw.com has covered in great detail many of the factors which have created it. At the top of the list is the illusion of being special and despite the shortage of jobs being convinced that he/she will get a good job, be promoted, and retire as an equity partner financially secure. Another driver is that this is a generation which believes in education and the one acquired in law school has the reputation of being an excellent one. Here, obviously, is a value issue: education in itself is a worthwhile pursuit.
It's encouraging that professors, whose jobs depend on having seats filled in law schools, are attempting to be reduce the suffering increasingly associated with earning a JD but not gaining a secure career path. That's probably it on that story, which first appeared on the Yale Law School website.