Here's a question for everybody in the legal profession, from 1Ls facing their first exams to people who have spent decades practicing law (It should be especially germane to legal academics in particular):
If you were given what in our sandlot baseball games we used to call a do-over, would you go to law school today? By this I mean, if you were in the same place in life you were at when you enrolled in law school, would you do it again, given what you now know both about this profession, and about the changes in the costs and benefits of entering it?
For example, in my case that would mean deciding whether to spend $140,000 in tuition to attend the University of Michigan Law School, rather than the $16,000 I actually spent (this would be about $30,000 in present dollars). It would also mean taking into account the changes in the legal job market in general, and the market for legal academic jobs in particular, over the past 25 years (I enrolled in law school in 1986).
At the time I started law school, I was doing fun but low-paying entry level work in the world of journalism -- I apparently had a talent for picking professions that were about to go into serious long-term decline -- and like countless other people I more or less stumbled into taking the LSAT, and then went to law school with no clear idea why, other than it seemed like a fairly inexpensive way to open up all sorts of potentially desirable professional vistas. I thought very vaguely that perhaps I'd go back to journalism ("You can do so many things with a law degree -- just look at Linda Greenhouse!"), but in reality I didn't have anything resembling an actual plan.
In retrospect I was being a reckless idiot, although not anywhere close to as reckless as following a similar trajectory would be today, given how much more it costs, and how much worse the projected payoff -- both financially and psychically -- has become. It's vastly harder to get a legal academic job today than it was 20 years ago, working for a law firm is now a much worse deal in terms of both expected payoff and lifestyle considerations (in any case I'm pretty sure I would be miserable in private practice), and public interest law has gotten very badly squeezed over the course of the last couple of decades, making a decision to spend $200K in the hope of landing a very difficult to acquire job that pays $50K a year even more dubious than it would otherwise be.
So I guess that would be a "no."