The Coming Crash in Legal Education: How We Got Here, and Where We Go Now

48 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2012 Last revised: 1 Jan 2013

See all articles by Richard W. Bourne

Richard W. Bourne

University of Baltimore School of Law

Date Written: 2012


This paper will first track the ways in which the legal services market has grown and changed over the past forty years. It will then track the major changes that have attended legal education during the same period and the increasing dependence of the legal education industry on student debt. The paper will then explore why, at long last, the boom-times may have run their course and why, at some point, painful changes will likely occur. Though they cannot be described in detail, the author will attempt to outline the likely nature of the changes that will occur. Finally, the paper will briefly explore how the predicted reckoning may yet lead to an improvement in the marketing of legal services and an enhanced role for law schools in preparing new attorneys for the new bar they will be joining.

Keywords: legal services market, legal education, law schools, legal education industry, attorney compensation, attorney salaries, law firms, economic conditions, changing markets, economic change, student debt

JEL Classification: K19, K39, L84, I21, I22, I29

Suggested Citation

Bourne, Richard W., The Coming Crash in Legal Education: How We Got Here, and Where We Go Now (2012). Creighton Law Review, Vol. 45, No. 4, 2012, University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-4, Available at SSRN:

Richard W. Bourne (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
United States
410-837-4508 (Phone)
410-837-4560 (Fax)

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