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The Hidden Costs of Outsourcing: Why Alaska Needs its Own Law School
 

The Hidden Costs of Outsourcing: Why Alaska Needs its Own Law School

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Alaska is the only state in the Union without a law school. In this presentation I argue that meaningful debate about whether an Alaska law school should be founded has been hampered by a narrow ...

Alaska is the only state in the Union without a law school. In this presentation I argue that meaningful debate about whether an Alaska law school should be founded has been hampered by a narrow discussion of its merits, that is, "Do we need more lawyers here?"

Who would ever answer, "Yes" to that?

I argue that framing the debate too narrowly both undercounts (1) the benefits that a law school would bring as a public good and (2) overestimates the costs of its construction, and (3) omits completely large opportunity costs incurred every year by failing to build one.

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    The Hidden Costs of Outsourcing: Why Alaska Needs its Own Law School The Hidden Costs of Outsourcing: Why Alaska Needs its Own Law School Presentation Transcript

    • The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government….. ARTICLE IV, SECTION 4 Constitution of the United States The Hidden Costs of Outsourcing: Why Alaska Needs its Own Law School Timothy R. Watts, J.D. Instructor of Law & Justice
    • Before we begin—a little disclaimer… —  Any statements made, views expressed, or opinions given represent my personal views and opinions alone. —  None of these statements, views, or opinions given by me (nor any of the information appearing on these slides) are endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of the University of Alaska, UAA, nor any other colleges or organizations affiliated with these institutions.
    • Re-introducing and Old Debate — Alaska is the only state in the U.S. without its own law school. — North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming each have a law school and a lower population. —  So why don’t we have one? — Do you really want more lawyers around?
    • Objections anyone? —  Lawyer A —  “I object—question is leading!” —  Lawyer B —  “I object too! Question has been asked and answered!” —  Legal Scholar A: “Wait! Maybe we should research this first…..”
    • Number of Active & Resident Lawyers Per Capita by State Light Green—fewer lawyers hanging around Dark Green—more likely to find lawyers wherever you go…
    • Lawyers by State (Data is as follows: State -- Population -- # of Lawyers -- # of Lawyers per 10,000 otherwise normal residents) 1.  D.C. 632,323 51,271 810.84 2.  New York 9,570,261 163,798 83..7 3.  Massachusetts 6,646,144 42,483 63.9 4.  Connecticut 3,590,347 20,842 58.1 5.  Illinois 12,875,255 60,069 46.6 6.  New Jersey 8,864,590 40,997 46.2 7.  Minnesota 5,379,139 23,774 44.2 8.  California 38,041,430 159,824 42.0 9.  Missouri 6,021,988 24,276 40.3 10.  Colorado 5,187,582 20,768 11.  Louisiana 12. Rhode Island 13  Pennsylvania 12,763,536 38.4 48,947 14  Maryland 5,884,563 22,477 38.2 15  Vermont 626,011 2,270 36. 16  Puerto Rico 3,706,690 13,282 35.8 17  Florida 66,556 34.5 18 Washington 6,897,012 23,741 34.4 19 Michigan 9,883,360 33,692 34.09 20  Oklahoma 3,814,820 12,978 34.0 40.0 21  Alaska 731,449 2,418 33.1 4,601,893 18,327 39.82 22  Ohio 11,544,225 37,745 32.7 1,050,292 4,060 38.66 23  Oregon 3,899,353 12,276 31.5 24  Delaware 917,092 2,853 31.1 19,317,568 Source: Lawyer Statistical Report & “Law School Tuition Bubble” Blog http://lawschooltuitionbubble.wordpress.com/
    • Employed Lawyers by State —  41 New Mexico 2,033,875 3,019 15.04 —  42 Michigan 9,931,235 14,790 14.86 —  43 Iowa 3,023,081 4,467 14.85 —  44 South Carolina 4,596,958 6,703 14.72 —  45 North Carolina 9,458,888 13,653 14.59 —  46 Indiana 6,445,295 9,249 14.41 —  47 Alaska 708,862 993 14.29 —  48 Wyoming 547,637 757 13.91 —  49 Oregon 3,855,536 5,049 13.21 —  50 Mississippi 2,960,467 3,770 12.78 —  51 Puerto Rico 3,721,978 3,949 10.56 Source: Lawyer Statistical Report & “Law School Tuition Bubble” Blog http://lawschooltuitionbubble.wordpress.com/
    • “Idle” Attorneys by State —  1 Puerto Rico 13,282 3,949 9,333 25.08 70.27% —  2 Alaska 2,418 993 —  3 New York 157,778 66,695 91,083 46.52 57.73% —  4 Oregon 11,766 5,049 6,717 17.42 57.09% —  5 Michigan 32,731 14,790 17,941 18.07 54.81% —  6 Connecticut 20,309 9,208 11,101 31.47 54.66% 1,425 20.10 58.93% …… —  44 D.C. 49,207 41,669 7,538 123.45 15.32% Source: Lawyer Statistical Report & “Law School Tuition Bubble” Blog http://lawschooltuitionbubble.wordpress.com/
    • Why so many “idle” attorneys? —  When idle attorneys are excluded, Alaska has among the fewest attorneys per capita in the U.S. —  With its relatively large proportion of governmental employers, this result seems counterintuitive. —  There appears to be a high number of otherwise qualified attorneys that do not practice.
    • A Law School as a Public Good —  Alaska appears to be singular in this respect—is has no internally trained lawyers (focused on Alaska law), while still having lawyers coming into the state but choosing other work. —  Alaska’s prevailing rates cannot attract a sufficient number of lawyers to practice. —  Does this relate to the failure to maintain a body of knowledge dedicated to furthering and improving the practice of law and judicial decision-making? —  Is the routine practice of law in Alaska weakened as a result of the dearth of scholarship typically relied on by practitioners to better use their time? —  Does the dearth of scholarship result in lower quality lawyering, and as a result, judicial decision-making?
    • Ummm… Okay, you are trying to convince me we need a law school, right? Not just me: Early this year, Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D–Fairbanks) introduced a bill, HB 43, to create the UA School of Medicine and the UA School of Law at the Fairbanks and Anchorage campuses. “Alaska needs more skilled professionals in medicine and law,” Kawasaki explains. “The costs for medical and legal services will only continue to grow unless Alaska makes changes today, and preparing Alaskans to meet that demand and fill those highpaying jobs is a great first step.” (I don’t think his bill has gone far…. But it keeps the discussion going.
    • We have been talking about this since statehood—why now? Or ever? —  The questions of Alaska law and medical schools keeps coming up. —  However, not only have Alaskans been considering it—studies have been done on the question. —  Most recently by ISER —  Answer is always basically the same—we have enough doctors and (especially) lawyers.
    • How Should Alaska Invest is Citizens’ Money — On higher education? — On a law school? — On a medical school? — Is each question the same, essentially, does supply meets demand for graduates?
    • Depends on the purpose of each… —  Do law schools and medical schools, for example, serve different functions? —  Have we considered all the costs of foregoing each of these? —  Is there any reason why we should approach each question differently?
    • Beyond the Numbers: Our State’s Duty to its Citizens —  Under our constitutionally guaranteed republican form of government, each state has a duty to its citizens to assure that its laws are studied and improved through scholarly works and the teaching of law to its citizens who desire to learn it. —  Seen that way, Alaska should be among the first, rather than the last, to recognize the importance that a law school has to the furthering of its own state's law—given that it holds a unique place in the United States. —  Alaskans deserve scholarly attention to the laws of their home state law and the benefits that come from it. —  Any cost/benefit analysis that asks this larger question would return a clear answer: built it—it has been too long in coming. —  The teaching and learning of Alaska law cannot and should not outsourced. Nor should the standards to which it adheres.