The exclusive, highly-sought membership into the club of… lawyers?
A few posts ago, I wrote about the influx of people who have been flooding law schools despite the lackluster result for many who try to find jobs during this economic slump. A friend of mine sent me an article the other day from The Economist that looks at the issue from an entirely different angle. According to a book published last month by Clifford Winston and Robert Crandall of D.C.'s very own Brookings Institution and Vikram Maheshri of the University of Houston, entry into the legal profession has remained barricaded by its own established professionals for decades. Accredited law schools and bar exams act as giant hurdles to receiving a license to practice. The authors remind us that Abraham Lincoln and Clarence Darrow, both celebrated for their legal prowess, never graduated from law school. In fact, California is one of the only states that allows you to take the bar exam without graduating from law school, and the pass rates of non-graduates and graduates are 15 percent and 30 percent, respectively. Not sure how many people would argue that the six figures of debt was worth the 15-percentage-point difference. Not only do the educational requirements make it academically and financially difficult for individuals to enter the profession, but attorneys who are already practicing make it difficult for anyone without a law license to take an authoritative role in management of our business world.