Law professor argues protectionism for law professors definitely good

Paul Campso bio at Wikipedia:

Paul F. Campos [sic] is a law professor, author and blogger on the faculty of the University of Colorado Boulder in Boulder.

This Campso fellow is really upset at a piece I wrote in which I argue that we should do what tons of other countries do and make it easier to be a lawyer, instead of creating massive barriers to entering the job of reading and writing arguments and following made up procedures.

Why Campso is so miffed at this suggestion is not mysterious. According to the University of Colorado budget, there are “regular faculty” at Campso’s fine institution of law learning that make over $150k per year, which is ever so slightly more than the national median income for all occupations of $38k. Once you go beyond the “regular” faculty, you get other really important things like “distinguished” (oooh) faculty and “deans” who make even more.

That’s some good money for a vocational school, but then again we know why the pay is so high: every one who wants to be a lawyer is required to go to law school, and so people like Campso who are positioned in between would-be lawyers and the credential gate can scrape massive rents from them on the path to that gate. Surprising no one, Campso thinks that is pretty cool and should definitely continue, you know for like civic reasons, not self-interested ones.

Math: How does it work?
Like many of the other cartel beneficiaries who responded to my piece, Campso has demonstrated a really difficult time with basic mathematical concepts involved in discussions of distribution:

In any case, arguing that law school graduates make too much money because the median income for “lawyers” in the US is $113,000 is akin to claiming that academics are overpaid because the average salary for “professors” right now is $119,000.

Is a median like an average? Is this a man of higher learning who doesn’t know the difference?

A median, also known as the 50th percentile, is the salary at which half of the people in the profession make less and half in the profession make more. An average is all of the salaries in the profession divided by all of the people in the profession. Medians are not subject to being pulled up misleadingly by a few high earners. Averages are. That’s a basic statistical concept, but I guess the well-worn joke is that lawyers are pretty innumerate.

Who Are Lawyers In The Future?
After this basic statistical confusion, Campso’s next move is to say that new graduates aren’t the same thing as established lawyers. After my mind was blown by this observation, I regrouped and then thought of this: people getting legal credentials now will be established lawyers in the future and the more credentialed people we can flood into the market, the more long-run downward pressure on these exorbitant salaries there will be.

Right now, it is objectively great that supply is outpacing demand for lawyers, especially for entry-level lawyers. That means downward wage pressure and less money spent on lawyers. But I am saying we need to ramp it up further. We need absolutely merciless downward salary pressure on lawyers until they reach a much more reasonable and decent median salary. This is a long-run project, but one worth undertaking, and one reducing credentialing requirements will aid. We might have to sacrifice some of those sweet rents Campso lives off of, but it’s worth it.