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U. Wash Law Dean Kellye Testy rejects reduction in class size as "paternalistic."

Below is an interesting Q. and A. from a webchat with Dean K dybbuk11/26/12
Can't be too paternalistic when you barely have a 50% employ jdead11/26/12
He arguments are weak but UW already has a small class, abou digitalserf11/26/12
Next question: Q: Are you therefore implying that the go therewillbeblood11/26/12
Ha ha ha. You know the mantra - if it is government involvem allordpwnsu11/26/12
There needs to be a cap on class sizes as a prequisite to AB shtlawaspiration11/26/12
Cap Harvard at 150? Cap Columbia at 150? One size fits all johnnycakes11/26/12
Seems like it would run into antitrust concerns, too. allordpwnsu11/26/12
The 150 cap would be pretty wild, I agree, and not the best shtlawaspiration11/26/12
I think Dean Testy was also responsible for pushing through hankstamper11/26/12
Good memory, but not 6%, one student said about 25% over 2 y jdead11/26/12
That's right. 12.8% in one year, right in the heart of the r hankstamper11/26/12
U of Wash is the best law school in the 6-state NW USA regio garga11/26/12
With the Limited License Legal Practitioner initative passed anonymous54211/27/12
dybbuk (Nov 26, 2012 - 3:42 am)

Below is an interesting Q. and A. from a webchat with Dean Kellye Testy of the University of Washington School of Law, dated October 2, 2012 (“Sensing a Seismic Shift: Is there a crisis in the legal profession?”).

Testy was asked whether law schools have a “societal obligation” to reduce class sizes to account for the lack of law jobs. Dean Testy’s response amounts to a ringing “No.” However, being a law school dean, she embeds the denial in scam language– criticizing the “paternalism” of restricting the number of law students, and then yapping about how a law degree “opens many doors” in nonlegal professions because of it signifies expertise in “complex problem solving.”

Q. The number of law graduates vastly outnumbers the number of available legal positions, and that trend is likely to continue for the forseeable future. Do you believe law schools have a societal obligation to significantly reduce their class sizes to account for this disparity?

A. I do believe that we are responsible for thinking about supply and demand. What is hard about that is that one does not want to be too paternalistic in saying to students who want to go to law school “no -- there are too many of you!” So, I think the critical approach is one of transparency so students know what a legal education can provide and what opportunities will likely open to them. It is a tough issue because one question to ask is "what is the alternative for that student?" And, the good news of a law degree is that it is a three year degree that opens many doors, not just into traditional law practice, but also into business, education, government, etc. I think of it as an advanced degree in complex problem solving, and we all know our world can use some more experts in that!

http://www.wsba.org/Events-Calendar/2012/October/~/media/Files/News_Events/Livechats/future_profession_transcript.ashx
(scroll to p. 28)

I note that Dean Testy earns $352,000 per year, and that her legal experience, in toto, consists of a one year judicial clerkship with the Seventh Circuit. Testy got a JD in 1991, and clerked for a Seventh Circuit justice from 1991-1992. After that Testy moved on to a law professorship at Seattle University, and then the deanship of the University of Washington law school, never to soil her beautiful mind with the stresses and frustrations of practice. So perhaps it is not probably not surprising that she has such a rosy view of the rewards showered upon those who obtain a JD, and then go into “education...etc.”, rather than the practice of law.

http://www.law.washington.edu/directory/CV/TestyKellye.pdf

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2009217326_weblawdean.html

I also note that Testy has written about corporate social responsibility, accountability, and stakeholder theory. See e.g. Kellye Y. Testy, Linking Progressive Corporate Law with Progressive Social Movements, 76 Tul. L. Rev. 1227-52 (2002). Here, I agree with every word. But, since legal academia is her domain, perhaps she needs to do more thinking about the social responsibility and accountability of law schools. I have no doubt that Testy would dismiss a corporate shill who denounced some socially desirable restriction or regulation on big business as “paternalism.” Why then does she employ the “P” word when it comes to her institution's responsibility for the plight of its own massively indebted students and recent grads, and for the profession she purports to serve?

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jdead (Nov 26, 2012 - 7:54 am)

Can't be too paternalistic when you barely have a 50% employment score on LST and you have a 25% under employment score.

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?r=wa

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digitalserf (Nov 26, 2012 - 8:09 am)

He arguments are weak but UW already has a small class, about 150 in each. Most schools have 2x or 3x that.

Note also, she was Dean at SU before going to UW.

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therewillbeblood (Nov 26, 2012 - 9:47 am)

Next question:

Q: Are you therefore implying that the government should stop providing no-questions-asked guaranteed loans to law schools via their students? Isn't that also paternalistic?

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allordpwnsu (Nov 26, 2012 - 9:48 am)

Ha ha ha. You know the mantra - if it is government involvement that helps my bottom line or allows me and my cronies to boss other people around it is good, if it is any curb on my earning power it is bad.

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shtlawaspiration (Nov 26, 2012 - 10:57 am)

There needs to be a cap on class sizes as a prequisite to ABA accreditation. Say 150. UW would be ok, but monsters like Georgetown or Cooley would get cut down to size. And yes, I just mentioned GT and Cooley in the same sentence. GT is a diploma mill w/ 579 1l's, and its employment score on LST is lower than my T50 [so much for the T14, should be more like T13].

Anyway, this would bring us roughly back in line with demand. A little oversupply is almost inevitable, but 45k students to 25k jobs is crazy. 30k to 25k would be ok. Not great, but ok.

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johnnycakes (Nov 26, 2012 - 12:08 pm)

Cap Harvard at 150? Cap Columbia at 150? One size fits all? Why would anyone give the good for nothing ABA or any other regulator the authority.

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allordpwnsu (Nov 26, 2012 - 12:10 pm)

Seems like it would run into antitrust concerns, too.

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shtlawaspiration (Nov 26, 2012 - 1:14 pm)

The 150 cap would be pretty wild, I agree, and not the best idea. However, would a cap on class sizes really run into antitrust concerns? Isn't refusing to accredit new law schools on the basis of things like library size, student teacher ratio, etc like the ABA already does illegal under antitrust and the DPC then? I believe Duncan Law filed a suit on DPC and antitrust claims and lost.

The AMA and other physician groups pressure med schools pretty hard to keep their numbers low, but I don't know if they withold accreditation or anything should a med school grow.

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hankstamper (Nov 26, 2012 - 6:08 pm)

I think Dean Testy was also responsible for pushing through a quite high tuition increase (around 6 - 7% in a single year) at Seattle University, right in the heart of the recession (2008/2009 academic year). After she pushed that through, she jumped ship to University of Washington.

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jdead (Nov 26, 2012 - 8:50 pm)

Good memory, but not 6%, one student said about 25% over 2 years.

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=148

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hankstamper (Nov 26, 2012 - 9:24 pm)

That's right. 12.8% in one year, right in the heart of the recession. I remember reading about it in the paper. Kellye Testy's farewell present to the utterly-screwed class of 2009.

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garga (Nov 26, 2012 - 10:27 pm)

U of Wash is the best law school in the 6-state NW USA region and has a small class size, I don't see why they need to reduce class size. I'd expect nearly every graduate to find a law job of some sort if they look hard enough.

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anonymous542 (Nov 27, 2012 - 1:53 am)

With the Limited License Legal Practitioner initative passed in Washington State, I think that would be the wrong state to go and try to find a law job.

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