As the famous quote in Shakespeare’s King Henry VI goes, “The first thing we must do is kill all the lawyers.”

Recent law school graduate Matt Bruenig proposes an entirely different target. Interestingly, his suggestions are rather free market, which is unusual for someone who normally writes about poverty, inequality, and economic justice. (hat-tip, Instapundit).

Law professors Erwin Chemerinsky and Carrie Menkel-Meadow recently took to the pages of The New York Times to argue against proposed reductions of legal education requirements. They claim that making it easier to become a lawyer “is a terrible idea” that would result in lawyers being poorly trained, not to mention less well-rounded citizens.

Having just wrapped up three years of law school, I can say with some certainty that this is bunk. In reality, reducing barriers to entering the legal profession would probably have very little effect on quality, while also blowing up one of the biggest upper class rackets in our society.

…The big scandal in all of this is not that law students are somehow getting a raw deal because of the debt they undertake in their arduous path through the credential gate. It’s that the whole system wastes a ton of money that could be spent on more useful things than lining the pockets of lawyers and law professors.

By making it easier to become a lawyer, we could undermine this malicious dynamic. Make law schools two years instead of three. Or better yet: Get rid of law schools altogether and make law an undergraduate degree. Eliminate the bar exam or, if you’d like, make passage of it the only requirement to practice law and get rid of all the rest of the qualifications. One way or another, we should do what it takes to flood the market with legal credentials and drag lawyers down into the pits or financial normality with the rest of the middle class.

…And really, quality reductions are perfectly fine provided they come with huge savings. Saving money by going with a lower quality product is a tradeoff we make all the time in our economy. Lawyers should be exposed to the possibility of those kinds of tradeoffs just as much as anyone else is.

In America today, we make a big deal about lawyers and what we do. (Just think about all the legal-centric shows on TV…) But the reality is that most of lawyers’ work is pretty mundane. Some of it can be done by computer software. Standing against efforts to “skimp on legal training” is nothing more than standing for efforts to inflate legal salaries through credential rents. Those without a direct stake in such rent-seeking should support efforts to dismantle barriers to entering the legal profession, and delight in all of the savings that such a thing would deliver.

Read the original article:
The case for killing law school (The Week)