A post on The Volokh Conspiracy entitled “Brian Tamanaha on the Law School Business Model” discussed an article called “Wake Up, Fellow Law Professors, to the Casualties of Our Enterprise.” The latter article posted on Balkinization begins: “Their complaint is that non-elite law schools are selling a fraudulent bill of goods. Law schools advertise deceptively high rates of employment and misleading income figures. Many graduates can’t get jobs. Many graduates end up as temp attorneys working for $15 to $20 dollars an hour on two week gigs, with no benefits. The luckier graduates land jobs in government or small firms for maybe $45,000, with limited prospects for improvement. A handful of lottery winners score big firm jobs.”
Here is the comment I posted on The Volokh Conspiracy in response to Brian Tamanaha’s article:
I think it is a big mistake for most young people today to incur $150,000 plus of law school debt to enter a job market that has many more graduates than law jobs and in which firms are laying lawyers off. A former partner of mine has a daughter who is going to go to law school next year at a private school in California and borrow $70,00+ a year for three years. The girl says she is not sure she wants to practice law.
I’ve told my former partner he should not let her go, but she really wants to do it. That $220,000 of debt will ruin her life. Nobody will want to marry her and inherit her debt dowry. She probably won’t be able to qualify for a loan to buy a home for many many years because of the debt. At 6% interest, she’ll be paying $1,312, $1,568 or $2,430 per month over 30, 20 or 10 years, respectively. Annual payments for those periods are $15,744, $18,816 and $29,164, respectively.
I am very troubled by what I call the “law school, law professor — government loan complex.” By this I mean a conspiracy of the three players to omit material facts to prospective and actual students about the problems of big long term debt, job prospects for law grads and actual and meaningful law graduate employment statistics (numbers, months to get hired, actual salaries, etc.) while jacking up tuition without any regard for the students or the laws of economics knowing that the government has created a blank check student loan program to fund the entire immoral scheme.
Law professors are part of the problem. Law professors in conjunction with law school administrators have created a three year education program that does nothing to teach a student how to practice law. I know from personal experience observed many times that it takes years for practicing lawyers to teach beginning lawyers how to practice law. Why do law schools charge students outrageous amounts and fail to teach the students how to be lawyers? Perhaps it’s because too many law professors have little practical knowledge of how to practice law. They teach “book learning” rather than the skills students need to be productive lawyers after they graduate.
I am so troubled by all of this that I created a topic area on my blog called “Law School Reality” where I collect articles (some might call them horror stories) and information about the law school, law professor — government loan complex, the dismal new lawyer job market, the massive student loan debt problem and other issues related to these topics. I am collecting this information because I hope that some prospective law students will learn from the information I have collected and have their eyes opened about law school reality.
You can read more on this topic at http://tinyurl.com/2f2rjxj.