There was some discussion over at PrawfsBlawg of the potential unseemliness of hordes of law professors wining and dining at various receptions and gala luncheons, given the perilous economic condition of so many recent law graduates (I should emphasize that it's becoming increasingly clear that "recent" in this context has turned out to mean the last ten, fifteen, or even twenty years, rather than since 2008, as so many legal academics continue to imagine). Update: Apparently Dan Markel doesn't want to talk about this. My own view is that symbolism counts, and that the unfortunate symbolism inherent in holding a four-day bacchanal of this type under present conditions is exacerbated by the AALS's reluctance to allow any formal discussion of a question which AALS Executive Director Susan Westerberg Prager seems to consider a marginal topic, i.e., (polite version) is American legal education currently based on a sustainable long-term business model that provides a reasonable return on investment to law graduates, or (less polite version) has law school become a rip-off?
Apparently this topic is so marginal that there's little need to address it at any of the dozens of panels being held at AALS over the next few days:
Few sessions at the law school conference reflect this concern. In descriptions that run for pages, none mention student debt or employment outcomes. Only a very few address the changes in legal education, focusing instead on changes in the profession and long-term challenges for law schools (such as those related to alumni giving).
“It really makes you wonder how serious they are, how introspective they’re actually being,” said Kyle McEntee, the executive director of Law School Transparency, a new nonprofit group that urges law schools to release better figures on job placement and other student outcomes.
Those sessions that do focus on changing law schools seem to be “tinkering,” McEntee said. “The one critical question is how can we reduce the cost of educating lawyers.”