Changing up the playbook
As this Crain’s article reports, we are giving serious consideration to adjusting our class size to meet the realities of the new legal economy. “Consideration” is not action, of course, and there is much reflection, data gathering, and dialogue to come. The larger issue underlying these discussions, of course, is the match — or, if you will, the mismatch — between law school functions and structures and the shifting terrain of the law and business worlds.
My friend, Dean Mike Schill at U. Chicago, is quoted in a way that suggests that he believes that all is completely well at his excellent law school. While he is as enthusiastic and bullish about the conditions of his fine law school as I am of mine, I am confident that Dean Schill understands that no law school — no matter its place in the grand pecking order of schools — is impervious to the changes in the legal economy. We ignore these changes at our peril.
Indeed, I would look at the subject at hand from a very different vantage point: It is precisely because we at Chicago and Northwestern (and other “elite” law schools) are so successful at placing our students in lucrative, important places in the hierarchy of jobs, that we have the special responsibility, and resources closer at hand than do others, to play a leadership role in concocting and implementing change.