本期《密歇根大学法律改革学报》（Michigan Journal of Law Reform）中概述了两种可能性，文章的作者是凯尔•麦肯蒂以及两名来自法律教育政策组织法学院透明度（Law School Transparency）的署名作者。这个组织成立于2009年，致力于提高法律系入学程序的公开度和就业数据的透明度。
“这是一种强大的主导力量，有它自身的动力存在，”布赖恩•塔玛纳哈表示。他是华盛顿大学法学院（Washington University School of Law）的教授，同时也是《失败的法学院》（Failing Law Schools）一书的作者。他总结说，唾手可得的贷学金、固步自封的评审程序，还有全国法学院排名，都助长了这种一刀切式的法学院体制，而这种体制并不适合大多数的学生。
Students are opting out of the law school entrance exam in significant numbers as they confront a scarcity of law jobs and the prospect of staggering debt loads. While some law schools are trimming back class sizes and tinkering with curriculum, most are forging ahead, and some are even expanding.
There is talk among law schools of teaching more practical skills, focusing on narrower, but enduring, legal specialties like bankruptcy, and even lopping off the third year of law school. But others are saying legal education's survival will come by way of radical new models like modular teaching, which would use part-time professors for defined periods, or lawyer academies, which are more like trade schools readying attorneys to practice immediately after graduating.
These are two possibilities outlined in the current issue of the Michigan Journal of Law Reform, by Kyle McEntee and two co-authors from Law School Transparency, a group founded in 2009 to make the law school admissions process more open and job placement numbers clear.
"Right now, schools are dabbling in what to do," says McEntee, "but the issue is already at crisis proportion. We have to start thinking about new options and new systems. Tinkering is not enough."
Inside the law school earnings machine
So far, about half of the nation's 200 law schools are cutting back the size of their entering classes, and many are handing out more student financial aid, which effectively lowers tuition. But the powerful economic reality is that law schools are big business, with tuition high enough that students graduate with an average of more than $100,000 each in debt.
Salaries are a major factor, with some law professors at elite or large law schools earning in excess of $350,000 to $400,000 annually. These sums significantly outpace other legal remuneration, except for the 10% in the upper ranks at top law firms.
But law school deans insist, almost uniformly, that the tuition rates are worth it, arguing that the law degree will hold its value over a period of years. And few deans, also law professors themselves, want to meddle with a proven earning machine or trigger alumni wrath by devaluing the professional degree.
"It's a powerful juggernaut that has momentum of its own," says Brian Tamanaha, a Washington University School of Law professor and author of Failing Law Schools. Readily available student loans, lock-step accreditation processes, and national law school rankings also have helped create a one-size-fits-all law school system that does not suit the majority of students, he concludes.