I’ve been following “Inside the Law School Scam” for years. A brave, long-running hit on the perfect storm of weak job market, rising tuition, and rampant denialism in the law school market, it spawned a great book, and I always try to send a link to any friends considering law school.
ITLSS closed its doors recently, with this missive (slightly edited for length):
I began this blog one summer afternoon in exactly way I’ve started every other professional project I’ve undertaken which ever amounted to anything: without thinking about whether doing so would achieve anything worth achieving, or at least win the approval of important people.
I started it because I had something to say, and this seemed a good way of saying it. For a few days I wrote anonymously – something I had never done before – more as a stylistic experiment than anything else. But naturally people in legal academia instantly became more concerned with Who Was Saying These Outrageous Things than in whether those things might actually be true. So I dropped the mask — which ensured that a few of those people would busy themselves henceforth with irrelevant personal attacks, rather than substantive responses. 19 months and 499 posts later, it turns out that the core message of this blog – that legal academia is operating on the basis of an unsustainable economic model, which requires most law students to borrow more money to get law degrees than it makes sense for them to borrow, given their career prospects, and that for many years law schools worked hard, wittingly or unwittingly, to hide this increasingly inconvenient truth from both themselves and their potential matriculants – has evolved from a horrible heresy to something close to conventional wisdom.
That enrolling in law school has become a very dangerous proposition for most people who consider enrolling in one is now, if not a truth universally acknowledged, something that legal academia can no longer hide, either from ourselves, or – far more important – from anyone who doesn’t go out of his or her way to avoid contact with the relevant information.
ITLSS has played a role in what can be without exaggeration called a fundamental shift in the cultural conversation. How big of a role it’s not for me to judge.
This blog is now the length of about four typical academic books. Anyone who wants to browse through it will find posts touching on just about every topic related to legal education and the legal profession regarding which I have something to say. Readers looking for a more concise statement can buy or borrow a copy of my book *Don’t Go to Law School (Unless),* either in paperback or e-book form.
All of which is to say that I’ve said what I have to say, at least in this format. I’ll continue to write on this topic, both in academic venues, in the popular media, and even from time to time in blog form, at Lawyers, Guns and Money. But the time has come to move on from here.
I’ve never written anything about the professional and personal price I ended up paying for starting to investigate, more than a year before I began this blog, the structure of contemporary American legal education. Perhaps I’ll tell that story someday. For now I’ll merely note that if people enjoying the extraordinary protections afforded by tenure aren’t willing to confront institutional corruption, then academic tenure is an indefensible privilege.
Farewell, and thanks for all you have done on this project.