The premise of Ronald Krotoszynski’s June 12 op-ed, “Bigger is not better at law school,” that there just isn’t enough demand for lawyers these days to justify admitting more law students, is wrong. Perhaps corporations need fewer legal services, but meanwhile, most Americans — and especially those struggling to make ends meet — can’t get the legal help they need to address serious life challenges.
The supply of lawyers doesn’t meet the demand from people with regular civil legal problems resulting from precarious economic circumstances. There are 40 attorneys for every 10,000 people nationally. For every 10,000 people living in poverty, however, there are 0.64 legal aid attorneys.
Alabama ranks second-to-last among states in legal aid attorneys per 10,000 people in poverty, with just 0.25. Law schools, donors, bar associations and state courts should all incentivize students to enter civil legal aid and other public-interest careers, with reforms of curriculum and law practice rules, expanded public-service loan forgiveness and, yes, larger class sizes.
Law students must know they are part of the solution to the crisis in the U.S. civil-justice system, and blinkered arguments such as Mr. Krotoszynski’s are not the place to start.
Martha Bergmark, Washington
The writer is executive director of Voices for Civil Justice and former president of the Legal Services Corp.