June 28, 2011

"[E]very state but Wisconsin and Nebraska (plus Washington, D.C.) is producing many more lawyers than it needs..."

Fascinating, but there's something about Wisconsin that the NYT doesn't know! And it's not that we've (apparently) gone crazy. It's that in Wisconsin, if you graduate from a Wisconsin law school — i.e., the University of Wisconsin or Marquette — you can have the "diploma privilege," which means you can join the bar without the pesky step of taking the bar exam. So if you're going to estimate the number of lawyers entering the Wisconsin bar by looking at the number of people who passed the bar, you're going to be ludicrously off!

30 comments:

CG said...

The story also discounts the fact that noone takes the DC bar because you can easily waive in from another jurisdiction. On the other side of the equation, however, is the fact that many people take multiple bar exams upon graduation or over the course of their careers. Many states don't let you waive in altogether, and many states will not allow lawyers to waive in from states that don't reciprocate.

AJ Lynch said...

The NYT writers are dopes -who'd of thunk that?

d-day said...

Who didn't know that? Every lawyer in every state knows that. Every lawyer lies awake at night terrified of the violent busting up of the legal cartel that would happen if Wisconsin's model were to apply to their own state.

Clearly, we should have become journalists. Competent journalism appears to be in drastic undersupply.

Maguro said...

Seems like there ought to be some kind of managed cull, as with the Canada Geese.

The Drill SGT said...

CG beat me to it.

Beyond the waiver issue in DC, most of the DC Bar jobs are with the FEDs and the FEDs (disclosure, the wife is a Fed Lawyer licensed in Mass) don't require a DC Bar license (well maybe for the US Attorney). The rest practice Fed work on their basic state bar license, likely where they went to school :)

XWL said...

When reporters in the "paper of record" so readily and frequently screw up on small details, it's a wonder that anyone in their right mind takes anything reported therein seriously.

This is another example of how reporting the 'facts' can completely miss the truth. Facts without context, or worse, intentionally misleading interpretations of the facts, presented as 'unbiased' reportage are what makes the New York Times the New York Times, and it's what makes those that still believe in its status as the 'paper of record' an ever shrinking minority.

Coketown said...

Shouldn't it read, "but there's something about Wisconsin that EMSI doesn't know!"? After all, EMSI crunched the numbers; the NYTs simply reported them.

edutcher said...

Master Will had a solution

nevadabob said...

" ... if you're going to estimate the number of lawyers entering the Wisconsin bar by looking at the number of people who passed the bar, you're going to be ludicrously off!"

The NY Times is not an accurate newspaper, Ann. You should subscribe to a better newspaper ... one with decent editors.

Then again, everything written in the New York Times is gospel, or haven't you heard?

Coketown said...

In Wisconsin, is this "diploma privilege" unique to the legal profession? For example, can just any trashy slut who graduates from grooming school take a set of electric shears to my bichon frise?

gerry said...

I have nothing to post, but I just couldn't pass on the word verification...ophooke. Ophooke, not more attorneys than we need!

X said...

Surplus lawyers. Doesn't anyone have a proposal to keep them From Being Aburden to Their Parents or Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to The Public?

The Drill SGT said...

Then there is the whole issue of where the State Bar practices it's guild rationing function.
Some restrict the number of law schools and have an easy bar, others have lots of law schools, California for one, but have reputedly tough bar exams....

Dose of Sanity said...

Professor,

It appears they account for the privilege in our number. I thought the same thing when I first read the article, but it appears they just used "admitted to the bar" instead of "passed the bar exam".

I took a look at the study's numbers - and it appears to add them. It also accounts for multi-state bars, somewhat.

Not a great use of the numbers, but not terrible either. :)

ET1492 said...

Has the surplus of lawyers caused any downward pressure on legal fees?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

you can have the "diploma privilege," which means you can join the bar without the pesky step of taking the bar exam.

Well then, this explains a lot about the morons you have on the Supreme Court in Wisconsin.

All you have to do is get a diploma, out of a Cracker Jacks box or something and Ta Daaah!!! Instant lawyer.

/facepalm

Steven said...

So, why don't we zero out Federal financial aid for law school? Why subsidize overproduction?

Dose of Sanity said...

@DBQ

Don't forget Althouse is cracker jack box in your analogy.

Christy said...

Farscape fans may remember the episode in early season 2 when our heroes are caught on a planet with a population 90% lawyers, 10% "utilities." Instead of political parties, they had competing law firms.

Saul said...

Ann is correct that the numbers are way off. UW graduates about 275 per year, and Marquette about 250 per year. So the numbers used were those out of state graduates (recent or otherwise) seeking admission in Wisconsin via bar exam. That means the numbers are probably understated by about 500 (some Wisconsin students practice elsewhere and never chose to avail themselves of the diploma privilege). But part of that is because of the influx of more attorneys from out of state than the number of attorneys that choose to leave Wisconsin.

Carol_Herman said...

Well, if that's not a selling point!

Diploma privilege is probably what got law schools started in the first place.

Given that Lincoln didn't need to attend one.

Fred4Pres said...

If the NYTs was a religion, they would be lazy Episcopalians.

themightypuck said...

Hi5 for the Farscape reference. I used to love that show. Which, like many things, is now available for streaming on Netflix.

ndspinelli said...

And that diploma priviledge blesses us w/ a higher percentage of incompetent, dull/normal barristers than virtually any other state. Just cheat your way thru UW or Marquette and you be Joe Dipshit, Esq.

mariner said...

Althouse,

You don't seriously think the NYT cares about being ludicrously off, do you?

The Value of Virtue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Muncie Home Brewer said...

Did anyone actually read the NYT's article:

". . .Wisconsin is also listed as having a deficit according to the number of people who passed the bar exam, but the bar-passers figure may not be a good metric (as noted by many readers in response to an earlier version of this post). Graduates of University of Wisconsin Law School and Marquette University Law School, in Milwaukee, do not have to take the bar exam in order to practice law, so there may be many new lawyers not counted in this figure. Note that the Education Department’s figures for the number of people who completed law school in Wisconsin is far higher, and would indicate that Wisconsin too has a surplus of new attorneys."

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