Blake Morant, president of the Association of American Law Schools and dean and Robert Kramer Research Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School, spoke March 12 to law school faculty and staff.
Morant deplored the “malignant” media’s relentless focus on the challenges facing legal education.
“All of higher education today is challenged,” he said. “But law schools have become sort of the whipping child for the media.”
Morant also discussed the negative perception of lawyers in popular culture. To illustrate its ubiquity, he described his experience watching Jurassic Park when the film was released in 1993: In a pivotal scene, a dinosaur cornered the occupants of a Jeep and set about making a meal of them.
“The first person to go was a lawyer,” Morant said. “The theater erupted in applause.”
The profession’s image problem has very real consequences, he said: “Some of our best and brightest are no longer considering law school – that is a serious problem for the academy and our society.”
Despite the current travails of the legal profession and legal education, Morant urged his audience to maintain perspective.
“We are undergoing an evolution that has been continual throughout this industry,” he said. “We have always been in evolution.”
He also encouraged his listeners to take pride in their line of work: “This is a profession that really does give back. What we do beyond representing clients is huge.”