Friday, April 17, 2009

another "elite" law school

No sooner had I posted on "what's wrong with the law schools" than another elite institution has made its mark. The UC-Irvine School of Law, which opens its doors this year, has announced itself "the most selective law school in the nation" and been hailed as the next elite law school by a wide range of commentators. A trip to the law school's website reveals 15 "founding faculty" of whom I recognized the names of at most three, and one of them (Rachel Moran) mostly because I went to law school with her. The website further indicates that the school is unique because it combines "the best of traditional top-tier legal education with innovative thinking" [now there's a thought] and will provide "meaningful opportunities to work with real clients on real legal problems." Indeed the school is so attractive that entering students were willing to pay . . . nothing to attend it, the inaugural class receiving free tuition for all three years (UCLA costs $31, 000). I wish the new law school well, and I have no doubt it will eventually find its place in the "top tier" of the US News rankings, which at last count included 100 law schools. But if a new school can hire a dozen journeyman faculty, bribe people to attend it, and be hailed as an elite institution, what is left of the concept of excellence, and is there any point talking about it?


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