Law School More Expensive Than Originally Estimated

ABA Journal:  Law School Transparency has resived its estimates of the total cost of financing a legal education.  The group’s new numbers show that the cost of paying full, out of state tuition prices are even higher than originally estimated

Previously, Law School Transparency had estimated that the average cost of borrowing money for legal education was about $195,000 for students starting law school this year, and $200,000 for students starting next year.  Law School Transparency has now revised those numbers to $210,796 and $216,406, respectively.

10 Faces Behind The Incredible Law School Underemployment Crisis

Business Insider:  “With law firms cutting back, thousands of law school graduates are still unemployed while stuck with six-figure student loan debt.  Some students have filed class-action law suits against more than a dozen schools alleging that officials misled them about their job prospects after graduation.  ‘The system of legal education is completely broken now,’ former Chicago-Kent College of Law student Richard Komaiko told us. ‘Almost everyone I know from law school is unemployed or seeking alternative employment.’  We wanted to hear the truth behind the crisis, so we interviewed several recent graduates, including those who have gone into entirely different fields, and one who is living just above the poverty line.”

Huge Law School Debt Means Pending Disaster for Grads and Taxpayers

OpenMarket.org:  “Federal financial aid policies have encouraged law students to borrow increasing amounts to attend law school, despite the glut of lawyers (oddly, government policies encourage more people to go to law school, driving up law school tuition, even as the Obama administration seeks to cut back on vocational education aimed at training the skilled blue-collar workers who are in desperately short supply in much of the country). The result, says law professor Brian Tamanaha, is a “Quickly Exploding Law Graduate Debt Disaster” in which most recent graduates of many law schools will never be able to pay off their staggering student loan debt.”

Smart People Avoid Law School

ABA Journal:  Are the wrong people losing interest in law school?

That’s the question posed by the Atlantic, which notes a 13.6 percent drop in applicants who scored highest on the Law School Admission Test, but only a 4.3 percent drop in applicants who scored the lowest. The Law School Admission Council released figures on the one-year drop in applicants at ABA-accredited schools based on numbers collected through the end of March.”

Is A Law Degree Worth The Debt?

The American Interest:  “Spring is here, which means that it’s acceptance letter season around many American kitchen tables this time of year. And because many graduate as well as undergrad schools send out acceptances around this time of year, both high school and college students will be checking the mail to see whether the school of their choice has sent fat or thin envelopes.

More than ever in these tough times, those letters will pose some hard choices in many families. To attend a more expensive liberal arts college or go for the scholarship at the bigger but less expensive state school? Does it really make sense to take out all of that debt for that graduate degree?

Many millions of students nationwide are now beginning to think about their local junior colleges, trade schools, or even start-ups as sensible post-secondary options. At the graduate level, if trends hold, close to 50,000 students, most of them probably liberal arts graduates without any real idea of what they want to do with themselves, will sign up for law school.

It’s all quite exciting for students and their families. It’s also expensive – often more so than young people realize. For those considering law school, Professor Paul Campos analyzes the picture at his blog. Close to half of all of law school graduates, he emphasizes, end up working not in big law firms, but in “small law” (firms of two to ten lawyers), or opening up their own solo practice. Given the relatively low salaries in small law firms and the high overhead costs of founding a new law firm (conference rooms, legal databases, bar fees), most young lawyers can look forward to no more than a median salary of $50,000, with those in the 75th percentile looking forward to … $62,500.”

Predictions for the Future of Legal Education

OnlineUniversities.com:  In its current state, legal education and the legal profession are not as close as you might think, in a system where law students engage in an overwhelmingly scholarly pursuit rather than professional education. This arrangement has worked for many years, but some experts say a change is coming, fueled by a declining economy, ultra-competitive job market, and the growing need for practice-ready legal graduates. We’ve found 10 interesting predictions for the future of law school, from no-frills law degrees to law schools with Enron-style accounting. Read on for an interesting look into what might represent the law school of the future.

1. It will look more like medical school: We’re likely to see an accelerated curriculum in law school, followed by more hands-on experience, much like medical school. Some schools like Northwestern have adopted this model, with a year of case method, a year of clinical, followed by a final year of externship in an area of focus. Experts believe this type of law school education would allow for a more practical legal education and a fast track to employment for law grads.

Continue reading predictions for the future of legal education.

Judge Tosses Suit Against NY Law School

ABA Journal:  A state court judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by nine New York Law School graduates against their alma mater.

Although the plaintiffs contend they were somehow misled by published NYLS employment data into believing that their post-graduation job prospects were better than they are, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Melvin L. Schweitzer said in his opinion today that the school’s employment data wasn’t misleading and college graduates have only themselves to blame if they didn’t fully research the issue before paying annual tuition that now totals $47,800 per year.

Continue reading judge tosses suit against NY law school

Suits Planned Against More Law Schools

ABA Journal:  A lawyer participating in suits against 14 law schools has more ambitious plans in his quest to improve reporting of employment rates for graduates.

On Wednesday, New York lawyer David Anziska announced plans to sue 20 more schools. He hopes there will be more. “I truly believe that at the end of this process nearly every law school in the country will be sued,” he said in a press release. The National Law Journal and Inside Higher Ed have stories.

Continue reading about 20 more law school suits.

Law School Applications Plummet

ABA Journal:  A bleak jobs picture for law graduates is apparently dissuading more would-be lawyers from applying to law school.

As of Jan. 13, the total number of applicants at ABA-approved law schools stood at 31,815, a drop of 16.7 percent from last year. The total number of applications was 233,361, a drop of 15.3 percent.

Continue reading about the declining number of law school applications.

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