Monday, November 20, 2006


The Irvine mascot, the anteater, makes a fine emblem for UCI's planned new law school, given how the school promises to slurp up law students across California
The University of California, Irvine plans to enroll its first law students in 2009. The opening of the first UC law school in nearly half a century will assuredly send tremors across legal education. But where?

Ethan Lieb of PrawfsBlawg speculates that the opening of a UCI law school may "spell disaster for UC-Hastings." Ethan reasons that Hastings currently enjoys a large share of "downstate" students from California who migrate north after failing to get into UCLA. Of course, Ethan's pessimism is probably attributable to the identity of his current employer.

There are at least two other scenarios; Ethan acknowledges at least the former:
  1. "[T]his development may hurt [San Diego], Loyola, [Thomas Jefferson], and Southwestern more than Hastings itself." Indeed, UCI is the natural competitor of every law school in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties not named UCLA or USC.

  2. Less obviously, UCI has the potential to draw students who are currently attending public schools outside California. Quite a few public schools -- Arizona, Arizona State, UNLV, even Utah and Minnesota -- are currently absorbing part of the pent-up demand for legal education in California.
One way to measure the impact of UCI's announcement would be create and maintain a law school information market. [Herewith a hat tip to Erica Tunick of First Movers for discussing information markets.] If only savvy "investors" could put their bets on the success or failure of UCI and its many competitors.

Come to think of it, MoneyLaw should probably contemplate how an information market on law schools might take the place of the despised U.S. News & World Report rankings. For current purposes, it suffices to note this much: UCI will be slurping up law students just as its mascot, the anteater, slurps up myrmidons of a different sort.


Blogger J.B. Ruhl said...

One might be able to form a sense of the poptential effects of UCI by examining the effects the new public law schools in Florida have had. FAMU and Florida International opened their doors several years ago. Both are "downstate" of the two senior public law schools in the state, Florida and Florida State, and both are in the population centers of the state. Also, FIU is nestled among several private law schools in the Miami area (Miami, Nova, St. Thomas), and FAMU is in the same city (Orlando) as Barry and not far from Tampa's Stetson. Unfortunately, I personally have no idea what the effects have been.

11/20/2006 9:15 AM  

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