Yale Law School’s Revolt of the Elites

If U.S. News altered its ranking in a way that elevated other law
schools at the expense of the existing top 14—and again, Dean Gerken’s
proposed reforms would, if implemented, seem to elevate Yale even higher, perhaps to number one with
bullet—would Roberts (J.D. Harvard, magna
cum laude, 1979) change his preferred source of clerks? Of course not. Real
power does not bend to the whims of defunct weekly newsmagazines. Someone else
would step in and invent a way of reidentifying the top 14, perhaps by
counting the number of Supreme Court clerkships each school’s graduates

It’s true that debt is a
huge problem for lawyers. The way to fix that isn’t tinkering with rankings.
It’s lowering law school tuition. Yale may provide generous aid to low-income
students. But its
published list price of $96,681 per nine-month academic year for tuition,
books, and room and board helps establish the market that other, less wealthy law
schools follow. 

It may indeed require three
years of deep contemplation in Cambridge or New Haven to adequately prepare for
a lucrative career managing corporate mergers and acquisitions—we’ll have to
take their word for it—but most practicing lawyers have normal jobs in
criminal, civil, employment, and family law. The idea that all lawyers need
three years of extremely expensive education after completing a bachelor’s
degree is a relatively new invention.

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