Comments Made by ABA President Dismays Law Professors

Comments Made by ABA President Dismays Law Professors



The suggestion of the American Bar Association president that unemployed graduates of law schools have no one to blame for their dilemma but themselves generated a variety of reactions from law professors and administrators.

This happened at an important law-school conference, with a lot of professors expressing their dismay at what they regard as misguided and insensitive remarks.

During an interview with a media outfit Wednesday, ABA president William Robinson, who assumed that position last August, said, “It’s inconceivable to me that someone with a college education, or a graduate-level education, would not know before deciding to go to law school that the economy has declined over the last several years and that the job market out there is not as opportune as it might have been five, six, seven, eight years ago.”

Some of those who attended the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) conference, the biggest yearly gathering of law professors, called the statement tactless.

Robert Ashford, a professor at the Syracuse University College of Law and founder of Section on Socio-Economics of AALS, said, “A lack of concern for law graduates — or anyone, for that matter — looking for a job in this economy smacks of questionable character.” AALS centers on economic issues within the legal profession as well as in legal education.

Others say that Robinson was unjustly picking on students.

Kathleen Clark, a law professor at the Washington University in St. Louis, said, “Robinson focuses on the individuals who incurred debt rather than the institutions that induced them to incur that debt. Individuals can be held responsible for their decisions, but we should also examine the responsibility of institutions that have benefited from those individuals’ ill-advised decisions.”


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