Archive for February 22nd, 2011
in 1975, John Havelock led a study on whether Alaska should have a law school. See Legal Education for A Frontier Society: A Survey of Alaskan Needs and Opportunities in Education, Research and the Delivery of Legal Services. Alaska is the only state that doesn’t have one. The study concluded we shouldn’t try and develop one: not enough demand, hard to make cost-effective, not likely to provide a first rate education, and a host of other reasons.
Havelock – a man WC respects a lot – reversed field in 2008, writing in an opinion piece in the Anchorage Daily News saying it was time to have a law school here. Nothing about his earlier study had really changed, but now an Alaska law school could become a magnet or something. John doesn’t say who or how this thing would be paid for; it still takes law students. WC thinks John Havelock is dead wrong.
The issue arises because there’s a bill in Juneau to create a law school. True, it was introduced by a State House Democrat, so the bill is probably dead on arrival.
But as recently as February 2004, the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute for Economic Research concluded that a law school wasn’t practical, necessary or cost effective. “The state can meet the legal education needs of its residents by increasing its financial support for students who go outside to law school and by establishing cooperative programs with existing ABA accredited law schools.”
The projections in 2004 for 2010 were a bit optimistic. Total active, in-state bar members at Fall 2009 were 2,443; in 2004 it was 2,552. Law school graduates taking the bar exam are down.
WC fears that if Alaska were to create a law school it would require public subsidy, would be mediocre, would fail to attract the brightest students, and might not produce the best lawyers.
It’s not a good idea. Let it go.