Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Corporate Wefare and the Complicity of Law Schools
It's a bit different from the lyrics of the song but it means the same --if you've got nothing, you've got nothing to protect.
My hunch is that this provides all the insight one needs to explain the existence of publicly supported law schools. That hunch is that if you had money and property back in the day you needed a lawyer. And what could be better than a lawyer you do not fully have to pay for because someone else has been required to train that lawyer. Thus, the state law school -- almost certainly the creation of the privileged classes so they could tax the general population in order to train people to take care of their wealth. [Did any of them think a public service requirment might be appropriate?] My definition of welfare would be paying for something at a price that does not reflect the costs of production. And, if you are a corporation hiring public law school graduates (at least from schools that still get public support), you are on the dole. Unlike private law firms that have to compete with the glut of young lawyers, you probably have not heard any corporations express concern. After all, supply increases, price goes down for an already subsidized input. The subsidization always meant oil companies were collecting welfare but the glut makes it even better.
The new form of corporate welfare which my faculty (full of "liberals") adopted is the corporate extern. Goes like this. The school collects tuition from students who then work for corporations but then get credit from the school. And to make sure it works, the faculty get a kick back for all the externs they can hand out to corporations. According to one proponent "Other schools do it?" So what? Some also report false figures to the ABA.
And then the case is made that "we are doing this for the students." Really, oh come on! I guess the $20,000 a faculty member makes for facilitating these handouts has no role in the process. After all, it is for the students but only as long as they pony up big bucks that find their way into faculty bank accounts. If it is for the students, then hire specialists to do it and cut the costs of the entire effort by eliminating faculty payola. With the money saved maybe something could actually be done for the students.
Yes, greed is not limited to corporations.