In January 2012, law professors from across the country arrived in Washington, D.C., for the annual conference of the Association of American Law Schools ("AALS"). It was an opportune moment. The legal economy was struggling. Graduates were begging for jobs and struggling with unprecedented levels of debt. The smart talk from the experts was that the legal economy was undergoing a fundamental restructuring.
For these and other reasons, law schools were under fire, from both inside and outside of the academy. Judges-including the keynote speaker at the AALS conference himself!-derided legal scholarship as useless. Law school deans called the economics of law school increasingly unsustainable. Legislators and litigators alike were looking into what law schools said and did. Professors registered their alarm in high and low places.