Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The end of the law school tuition bubble?

Northwestern dean Dan Rodriguez sent an email to the law school this morning, announcing a 3% tuition hike for the coming academic year.  Interestingly, he framed this as an aggressive cost control measure, in response to the dire employment situation:

As we all know, the legal market is in the midst of extraordinary change and the present challenges facing our students – as with all law students – are considerable.  Since 2008, the supply of law-related jobs has declined sharply and the speed of recovery remains slow and uncertain.  To be sure, Northwestern provides a first-rate legal education and our graduates are much in demand; we remain a worthwhile investment by any credible measure.  Yet, we need to be mindful of the ways in which the current legal economy affects our current and prospective students.

For decades, tuition has increased steadily at a rate higher than inflation at our law school and at nearly every top law school. Although our rates of increase have been similar to those of our private law school peers, and a good deal lower than the top public law schools, much attention appropriately is being given to the rising cost of legal education and the growing student debt levels of law school graduates nationally.

In order to begin to address this situation in a meaningful way, I am writing to let you know that we are limiting our tuition increase for the 2012-13 academic year to 3%, our smallest percentage tuition increase in at least the past 40 years, if not our entire history. This rate also coincides closely with current and recent measures of inflation.

This is no panacea, of course.  We are well aware that this first step makes only incremental changes on the significant historical increases in law school tuition at Northwestern and elsewhere.  I am committed to address in manifest and meaningful ways the rising cost of legal education and corresponding burdens of student indebtedness.  Limiting tuition increases is one step; controlling law school costs is another; and looking to our Northwestern friends in the private sector to support the Law School, even in the midst of current economic difficulties will need to be at the center of this strategy. Northwestern Law School has been a leader in so many respects.  The time has come for us to be an innovative leader in addressing the challenges of the new legal economy.
According to the CPI inflation was 3.16% last year, so it's fair to call a three per cent increase a freeze in real terms.  It's worth noting that inflation had been below three per cent in 14 of the previous 19 years. Given that as Dean Rodriguez points out, a three per cent tuition hike is in historical terms an act of unprecedented restraint on the part of the school, this merely emphasizes to what extent the assumption that the cost of law school will go up each and every year in real terms has become almost universal.  Therefore any recognition at all by legal administrators that this is not an inevitable state of affairs is a real step forward.

It's also heartening to see a law school dean state that he's committed to getting costs under control. In one of the first posts on his new blog a few months ago, Rodriguez stated that since the cost of a first-rate legal education was going to continue to rise, it was important to find sources of revenue other than increasing student tuition to fund that rise.  Here, he is at least implying that it's not necessary to continue to increase the real cost of legal education.  It's true he doesn't come right out and say that, and there's no hint here that real costs might actually be decreased significantly with little or no loss of educational quality, but still . . . baby steps.

Similarly, while it's true all this is framed in the context of the assumption that everything was fine, at least at Northwestern, until the downturn in a big law hiring in 2008, one can hardly expect law school deans to come out and say that in retrospect raising tuition at above the inflation rate pretty much every year for several decades in a row might have been a bad idea.  If the narrative needs to be "the world suddenly turned upside down, and we must adjust to an unanticipated new reality" that's better than yet more denial.

Speaking of which, Matt Leichter has compiled tuition data for 2011-2012, and discovered that tuition at private law schools grew by less than one per cent in real terms this academic year, and that 29 schools actually cut tuition in real terms.  He also notes that lower-ranked schools raised tuition quite a bit less than high-ranked ones, which, perversely enough, has not been the historical pattern.  (I would add that there's some evidence that lower-ranked schools are becoming even more aggressive about using "merit," i.e., cross-subsidized, scholarships, which of course are functional tuition cuts.  The number of schools that brought in less tuition in real terms this year than last year may in fact be quite a bit larger than 29)

Leichter goes on to analyze what appears to be something of a collapse in law school applications this year, and predicts very hard times ahead for low-ranked schools in particular:

The number of applicants per law school is projected to reach a record low, and given the structure of tuition increases (and decreases) in 2011, law schools will continue to diversify based on the interest people are showing in their programs. Also note that contrary to popular belief, the number of applicants did not grow nearly as much due to the financial meltdown as in previous recessions, and more profoundly, the 2011 and 2012 application years break the countercyclical trend of law school applications. People who normally would've applied to law school are either choosing other graduate-level programs or none at all instead of law school. This is an unprecedented event facing the legal academy, and it is very likely to continue.
The real question is at what point law programs will start retrenching by excusing staff, cutting salaries, and reducing tuition, or when universities begin shutting them down.


  1. Have you heard about this? Student Loan Defaulters Being Victimized by Debt Collectors Working for the Government http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2012/03/student-loan-defaulters-being-victimized-by-debt-collectors-working-for-the-government-.html

  2. When was it "popular belief" that applications had grown during this recession? People have been saying that for some time now; that students were reacting differently during this recession and were not rushing off to law schools. That can't be presented as his discovery.

    Dean Rodriquez sounds like a good guy. I don't see a point of criticism that he offers a solution without adding recrimination for the past. He's the Dean now and will go forward.

  3. Universities will begin shutting law schools when these profit centers become loss leaders.

    We should help that process along. First, make universities sureties for a portion of the federal loan going to graduate students. Student defaults, you're on the hook.

    Second, permit the discharge of private loans in bankruptcy. Lenders will tighten standards pretty quick.

    Third, prioritize federal lending. Allocate more federal loan money to undergraduate education and to certain graduate programs (medicine, engineering, research science) and less to law and mba programs. At least allocate the subsidy in favor of the more scarce and socially beneficial program.

  4. First, a word in favor of Northwestern:

    Its 2011 job placement stats actually look decent. 221/287 grads are in long-term bar-required jobs, nine months out. Significantly, only 8 of those are listed in the scammy categories of "solo" or "law firm: 2-10."


    As for Dean Rodriguez, his students should be aware of his disgraceful behavior in accepting $321,685 of free foundation money when he was a faculty member at UTexas. The alleged reason that this money was distributed (by Rodriquez's friend, Dean Larry Sager, who got his hand in the foundation honey pot), was to encourage retention of faculty, but Rodriguez left the UTexas for his Northwestern deanship shortly thereafter.


    It is interesting that uberscammer Brian Leiter is a strong supporter of Rodriguez. Even though Leiter is a National Lawyers Guild left-winger and Rodriquez is a pro-Guiliani conservative, these two scholars put aside their differences and formed a beautiful friendship and alliance in the interest of protecting the law school scam.

    Rodriquez has a boosterish blog called "Word on the Streeterville" that is awful in its smugness. One of its choice entries, from December 27, 2011, features the following advice to scamblog types:

    "Understandably anxious, and occasionally antagonistic, current and ex-law students (along with an occasional law professor) have reached for the moral high ground by attacking law schools root-and-branch. But, there is a common interest in supporting the model of legal education that remains the envy of the world, while also engaging in constructive criticism. Maybe, just maybe, 2012 will see the replacement of scambloggers with rational, albeit hard-hitting, dialogue among the myriad stakeholders."


    It is the phrase "envy of the world" that gets to me. Do law students in benighted foreign lands envy American law students for their six-figure debts, their diminishing job prospects, and a model of legal education that takes three years to teach what a bar review course teaches in seven or eight weeks, while providing meager clinical training?


  5. Too bad he had to announce this right after a Northwestern student was killed in a hit and run. You think he might have waited a little bit.

  6. Instead of posting the idiotic "end of" thoughts of some moron, why don't you write about something that actually matter?


  7. The tone of the Dean's letter is appropriate. He is stating that it is indeed a structural problem - not just a temporary problem due to the current economy. Give him credit for addressing the problem.

    On the other hand, I have to believe that Northwestern is seeing a real problem with the number and quality of its applicants. They may also be getting kick-back from graduates that didn't land with top firms etc. I doubt if he is merely concerned in a general way about law students.

    I have a small theory: the law school situation has finally "hit the fan" because the situation has gotten so bad that graduates even at the elite and the "better" public schools are in a world of hurt. It is not just the a problem for the bottom schools anymore. When it was a problem with the bottom schools one could blame the victims/graduates as not being good enough. When the elite school students are having problems this excuse becomes difficult.

  8. 10:13: I agree -- I think that's a key to what's happening now.

  9. 10:13 NW might be even more susceptible to the decrease in applications since it bills itself as "the work experience school." One downside to this is that people with work experience already have jobs and are more likely to stay in their current jobs rather than roll the dice.

    I really wish we could parse the data to see exactly who is making the decision to forgo law school.

  10. Northwestern is a classic "trap school". Nothing more nothing less.

  11. How big of a scam is the international LLM program? Wow, those programs must be massive cash cows for the law school. They can just admit 30-40 international students per year, charge them 40-50k in tuition, and just let them take any course available to a 2L or 3L. The students don't count towards the rankings and can't sit for the bar because of citizenship status, and the school does not have to add any classes, professors, or administration. It's a win win.

  12. Columbia admits about 200 International LLMs per year. They can sit for the bar in NY. Most of them have fun while they are here and get jobs in their home countries or return to their old jobs. They also provide a nice little cushion at the bottom of the curve for lazy 2 and 3Ls like myself and of course the school gets a nice 50K a pop. I'm not sure the degree is worth anything but if their rich families/employers/home countries are paying for it I don't see the harm from their perspective.

  13. All you need to know about the tuition money grab that higher education has become is encompassed in the fact that an annual increase of "only" 3% is, as noted by the dean himself, an act of unprecedented restraint.

  14. Three Cheers For the Cosmic Lady!
    She's hanging from a tree.
    She went to law school,
    like a damn fool...
    but now at least she's free.

    It's not OUR fault she's hanging there!
    so said the Law School Dean,
    "There's figures, stats, and rows and lines
    she should have read between!"

    Three cheers for the Cosmic daughter,
    she never gave up hope.
    She found enjoyment,
    good employment,
    with Daddy's nylon rope.

    But see her eyes!
    They look so frightening,
    in the red light of the moon.
    What made the lady so upset
    to end her life so soon?

    Some say: "Life is just unkind
    and that it sore distressed her mind."
    But some say it was greed and Gold,
    (for t'was to *Lordy she'd been sold)

    Three cheers for the Cosmic kid...
    ...but...just go cut her down.
    the Mayor says it will not do
    to have this in our town.

    *Lordy refers to Albert Lord of Sallie Mae

  15. Has anyone seen this? The guy in the article is named Campos no less!:


  16. I wouldn't be too enthusiastic about Northwestern's 2011 employment statistics. The format that schools now use discloses more information than before, but you have to be careful to combine categories. In particular, always look for the total number of graduates--not just the percentage reporting or percentage employed.

    Northwestern had 287 graduates in its class of 2011. 221 of them took full-time, permanent jobs that required bar passage. That's just 77% of the class--barely over three quarters. And remember that this total includes graduates with clerkships and other one-year fellowships.

    Thirty-four of the grads (12%) had just part-time work nine months after graduation; another 16 (6%) were unemployed or status unknown.

    All of that is pretty grim for a school that stresses students with job experience. You would think that the prior experience would give Northwestern grads a chance at least to go back to their former jobs.

    I stress this, not to give Northwestern a hard time (since they are disclosing these numbers), but to underscore how tough the market remains. It's absolutely right for all schools to rein back tuition increases and even to think about rollbacks.

  17. It would be difficult to be enthusiastic about any job statistics over the past few years. The economy is only slowly rebounding. There was never a reason to think that 2011 would be any different than 2009 or 2010, when even top schools reported drops in employment nine months out. So, water is wet. The news of the past few days is that some firms are hiring more people now and expect to step things up even more. Others are still cautious. The government and public interest sectors are still moribund. All in all it could have been much worse for Northwestern. It would be interesting to know what happened to the people who were not employed at nine months. Did any get jobs between nine months out and now? Tough times!

  18. Oink!! Oink!!!

    Chris Edley, dean of the UC Berkeley Law School, is among the executives who threatened to sue UC.

    Asked about the status of their pension demand, Edley paused. "It's nothing I want to discuss," he said. "I'm not going to talk about it."

    Edley, who earned $350,000 last year, has defended the demand for higher pensions, saying it is both financially important to his family, and a promise made by the regents in 1999 that UC is obligated to carry out.

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/27/BAIU1NQCFS.DTL#ixzz1qNa24tpV

  19. Can anyone address the anecdotal reports that hiring has improved significantly for the class of 2013?

  20. Campos is being way too easy on Northwestern here:

    The real comparison should be between

    1. 1980 Northwestern tuition
    2. 2013 (projected) Northwestern tuition

    And compare if this tuition is reasonable as adjusted for inflation

  21. Does anyone have information on Northwestern's tuition rates from decades past?

  22. Hey JDPainter, you untalented hack. Your five minutes are up. No one wants to read you "art." You suck ass. You have zero talent and you need to stfu.

  23. If Campos has any mettle, and if he understands what a "bubble" is, he should be calling for tuition prices at ALL education institutes (let alone law schols) to return to inflation adjusted rates comparable to late 1970s/early 1980s. Tuition rates should begin to drop in typical bubble fashion, similar to what is occurring in housing prices. To take the housing example, look at this chart:


    Do you see how the prices have hit mid 1990's levels, and probably are headed for 1980 levels?

    The EXACT same thing should happen with tuition, because it is a similar BUBBLE

  24. Why pick 1980? Why not 1955, or 2009?

  25. Because that is when Debt to GDP began skyrocketing. Look at all the charts and you will see how around 1982/83 the rise began. Things were stable in the 50's, 60's, 70's. That's why you can use 1980 or around there as a reasonable marker.

  26. So, why pull Northwestern out of the total mix? The notion of being "too easy" on Northwestern suggests that the school is operating in a vacuum; that it is doing something that the entire system of higher education is not doing-- and that the school's actions alone can solve the problem. Condemning them as if the school were a singular force makes no sense.

  27. Let's get rid of federal student loans for graduate schools for a period of 5 years. We'll call it a holiday. The schools will whine, then threaten to close, then cut the fat.

  28. You think only schools will whine, if all loans to graduate schools are cut off and the only people who can go to schools are really rich people?

  29. To 7:22 AM

    Not a bad point - all schools should have detailed accounts of their tuition levels over the years, with focus primarily on the rate of tuition increase vs. real inflation. And not just in law school since this is a pervasive problem.

    But since we are talking about Northwestern in this specific post, they can be the example for the day...

  30. We're talking about the school because it is seeking to do something now and going forward. There is nothing to be done about was in 1980. It may be an interesting observation, but not terribly useful for the times we are in now. That tuition is much higher now than it was then is not much of a revelation. Whatever happens is not going to be decided on the basis of what life was like in 1980.

  31. @8:42 - this is even better:


    From 2010,

    Dean Edley: "We craven scum (who signed the letter) are prepared to make further sacrifices, but disagree with UC staff about what's fair, necessary and wise."

    "If UC is perceived as untrustworthy by senior job candidates, the damage may be significant"

    Can't even make this stuff up...

  32. "It may be an interesting observation, but not terribly useful for the times we are in now. "

    Its the most fundamental of observations, because it indicates where Law School (and other Higher Ed) tuition prices should be, not this bullshit 3% increase by Northwestern Law.

    As tuition prices are a bubble (as they are so far above what they should be vs. inflation), to identify what the true price of a law school (or other) degree should be, we must look at historical prices and inflation to see the trends, and bring the price down to its appropriate level.

    That is the point - to find out what the true price of tuition should be. Its definitely not a 3% hike from 2011 numbers.

  33. "True price of law school", as if law school were a fixed thing over space and time. Law school in 1980 was very different from law school in 2012. You could say the same about colleges. Anyone who graduated from college (law school) in 1980, and went back to their Alma Mater in 2012, would find a very different place. They might not be able to find their way around, the physical landscape would have changed so much. And if it didn't look different on the outside, they would find far more services for students-- mental health, support services and the like, more classes-- than existed when they were there in the 1980. It is easy, and wholly instrumental to say, "I have seen the true price of law school, and it is low".

  34. 8:54 again-- you could include faculty salaries and financial aid into that mix as well. There was just an article, I forget where, talking about the effects that increasing financial aid has had on the rise in tuition costs. Bill Bennett wrote about this when he was in the Reagan administration. He was soundly criticized by liberals. Now his view is getting a second look.

  35. "as if law school were a fixed thing over space and time. Law school in 1980 was very different from law school in 2012. "

    Really? I gather the impression from these blogs that law school tuition doesn't change much, and the structure of law school (with basically only lecturers) does not really justify its huge price tag. Mental Health and support services? Is that your justification for the disproportionate (to inflation) rise in tuition?

    I think it would be a good idea for Campos or anyone else with access to numbers to find tuition rates for 1960 onward in 5 year intervals, in order to identify the inflation-adjusted price, and to graph the rate of increase, identifying just how much higher it is compared to inflation. After that, a discussion can be had regarding whether or not there is a true rationale for the increase other than greed and negligence.

  36. No,mental health services are not the only cause of a rise in tuition, no one actually who read what I said in both of my posts would think that. My point is that there are multiple causes, and saying that tuition should be what it was in 1980, that this was something called the "real" price does not make sense. The suggestion is that the lower price, because it existed over some span of time, is always the right price. Why start at 1960. Why not start the chart at 1900 and get even more data? But you would also have to look at the programs over time.

    Not every one who comments on this blog has the same view, though I agree it really is not a place for divergent opinions.

  37. I wonder if Campos would be willing to scale back his salary to 1980 levels.

    No? Then why would anyone else? LawProf wants to keep his salary and bennies, but wants tuition to take a nosedive. Doesn't work that way, Paul.

    You might be acting like part of the solution now, but you're just as much a part of the problem. And considering that you've BEEN part of the problem for decades, you've got a long way to go just to get even. But since you're still pilfering from the student body I guess you're still losing ground at the moment.

  38. So, according to Paul's University, his salary is, at a minimum, $150K, and he teaches 2 courses each Fall and 1 course each Spring.



    3 Courses per year...minimum $50k per course.

    And yet he complains that tuition is too high...cognitive dissonance, anyone?

  39. 9:23 and 9:38, take your whining somewhere else. This is the same crybaby argument critics use when billionaires say that they should pay more in taxes. "You should suffer more before you have moral authority on this issue. And we, the anonymous concern trolls of the internet, will tell you when you've suffered enough."


  40. Off topic - interesting development today regarding the New York Law School lawsuit. Last year, in the case Koch v Acker (73 AD3d 661), the Appellate Division, First Department dismissed a plaintiff’s GBL §§349 claim based upon a disclaimer in an otherwise misleading wine auction brochure. The Court of Appeals reversed that decision today and reinstated the claims. Rest assured, the First Department (which will be hearing the NYLS appeal) got the message. This definitely increases the likelihood that the trial court’s ruling will be reversed on appeal - at least on the GBL §§ 349 claim.

  41. @9:38

    I think you are missing the key point. Assume arguendo that every law professor is on the $150k you stated. Law students are required to take about 31 credit hours per semester and tuition is typically about $45k. The tuition of 3 and one third students covers the salary of a law professor. Put another way, if the professor delivers 103 credit hours - that is credit hours x students the salary is covered. Now a small course is 2 credits and a big one 3 or 4. But lets say for the sake of argument that the total course load is 7 credits a year. Only 15 students would have to be in each class to cover the credit hours.

    I don't know if you have ever taught a course or a seminar. But every credit hour is 12-14 hours of class time - so a two credit course is 28 hours - and that does require preparation - say 3 hours per credit hour - so that is 112 hours for a two credit course - and I think you would have to allow office time for the students - say 4 hours per week on a two credit hour course (and that is conservative) so not we are at 224 hours. Then there is writing the exam - say 20 hours. The grading the exam papers - 3 hours each - with 20 students that would be 60 hours which gets you to 304 hours.

    One of the problems with the idea that adjuncts can teach all the law school courses is that 304 hours of my time is expensive - a good bit more than $200,000 - and a lot of the experienced lawyers you would want to have teaching certain courses have rates close to mine. So that is more than the $150k you cited as Professor Campos' pay for just 2 credit hours - not seven. Seven credit hours would be over 1/2 million.

    A large part of the cost issue is not what the common or garden law professor is paid - which by the way is more typically about $160k - it is what the Deans, the deputy deans, the librarians, the ancillary staff, the secretaries, the merit scholars, the main college rake-off (20-40%) is. You could lower the cost of law school a lot and still keep most professors on what they are being paid, or something similar.

    None of these things though would solve the problem - the jobs are simply not there for 50,000 new lawyers a year in the US. They are not there and even if law school cost $5,000 a year they still would not be there.


  42. Good afternoon:

    A friendly reminder…..if you plan to use federal funds for your study abroad trip, please check the Cost of Attendance and send an email to Janet Cromer at cromerjb@wfu.edu with the name of the program(s) you will attend and the amount you need to borrow. Also, please let me know if you want to increase the budget to cover origination fees (2.5% Grad Plus) charged by the lender. In addition, please check the Information Sheet for the dates that the refund will be available and if you are not in town, include the street address where the check should be mailed.

    Thanks so much,


    Janet Cromer

    Associate Director

    for Admissions & Financial Aid

    Wake Forest University

    School of Law

    Winston-Salem, NC

  43. So, MacK,no more complaints here about law professors'salaries?

  44. Because taking just 39K a year is just not enough, can you please pay for our Prof's to check out Europe too.

  45. @8:54 Anyone who graduated law school 20 years ago would fin a different place. My law school - Georgetown - the year I arrived opened a huge and astonishingly plus library, with custom brass light fixtures, hardwood shelves, expensive panelling, carpets - etc. etc. The dump of a building now has been expanded with beautiful panelled offices, a huge moot court/lecture hall favoured by Presidents, Congressmen and visiting heads of state for lectures, enough marble it seems to refaced the Parthenon, colonnades, privatised streets behind gates, a huge "student centre" with gym and pool. I mean it is somewhat like a Marriott, but a very upscale one. And the services - wow!

    But you know, all of this needs to be paid for. I visit law schools in Europe, in Asia and in the US - and indeed colleges in general. US colleges are fabulously plush places - with food courts, high end furnitures and finished, marble stone and custom fixtures - faculty offices that senior law partners don't enjoy - and all of this is a huge cost. And US students have demanded it. Visit Oxford and Cambridge sometime, Trinity Dublin or UCD, or the Sorbonne or even ENA, Todai and they are dumps compared to their US counterparts.



  46. I am neither 9:23 or 9:38. I have to say I'm not very...proud of what I am about to say here. It feels very much like a witch hunt infused with jealousy and envy, toward people I have absolutely no idea what their personal history/situation/work ethic is. However, I will say these numbers, much like my own alma mater (just found out that means "nourishing mother" - never use that term to describe my old school again), seem fairly ridiculous. Hard not to feel a pang of rage to see multiple administrative assistants making more than me - a government attorney. Granted, I'm only now nearly 3 years out of law school, and these folks may have worked for 30 years, but still, a little disheartening. I see the dean is pulling in $330,000 (when combining funding sources). Another prof, i.d. number 117216 is making about $225000 when all is said and done. I guess more than anything, I am amazed to see all of the non-state funding (I assume this essentially means Foundation) being used to bolster these salaries, yet the school is apparently still running "in the red".
    I'm not sure what the point of this rambling is, I guess just to say when flipping through the salaries under the "law administration" department, you see a lot of 6 figure salaries, and a lot of salaries closer to my wages, which seem to be for positions that a high school diploma would be sufficient. Par for the course with the law school I graduated from. Which is a bummer.

  47. 10:35 -

    Oh I complain about professors salaries - but I would not be too bent out of shape at a salary of $160k - but many schools are paying tenured professors $300-$700k And that is outrageous. I will admit to making a reasonable amount - but my pay depends on my partners and I finding the business - and it could all disappear in a few months - and I have to make my own pension arrangements, etc. A tenured professor is well paid at $160k - given tenure's benefits - but much more, that I have issues with.

    oh and I meant "plush library"


  48. This is in response to the various assinine comments that LawProf should sit down and shut up since he is paid for being a law professor. To the extent any of you actually believe what you're saying and are not, as I suspect, simply trolling, your thinking is simpleminded and illogical in at least two respects:

    (1) One does not have to be a stranger to the system in order to criticize it. Indeed, people within the system are best positioned to criticize it since they are the only ones with insider knowledge. Moreover, they are also in the best position to reform it. Absent a tear-down-the-walls type revolution, the only way to effect change is from the inside. Put simply, we want people like Campos who have the courage to speak out against the system from the inside. Demanding the immediate resignation of anyone who is unhappy with a corrupt system will inevitably lead to a system populated exclusively by corrupt people. How exactly would that help out cause?

    (2) The fact Compos is speaking against his own short-term economic self interest actually enhances the credibility of his message. Far from being somehow hypocrytical, as some of the commenters suggest, it shows extraordinary integrity to make an argument that would lead to a reduction in one's own compensation. That's what we used to call "sacrificing for your principles." I realize this is a strange and alien concept for some of you, but there are a few people in this world willing to give up some of what they have for something they believe in.

  49. What school pays professors 700k?

  50. 10:58

    I do not have the name to hand - but I did have it a week ago and it was third tier. The Dean was on over $700k and some of the professors were on astonishing pay checks. In addition, in New York, a number of the law schools provide very expensive apartments as part of the package.


  51. Actually you said "many schools", which schools pay professors 700K?

  52. I take "many" to mean "lots". You have mentioned one school's Dean/professor and New York schools' practice of providing faculty housing, as schools do all over the country in venues expensive and not. In NY, the school typically buys the apartment and rents to the professor.

  53. Yeah MacK - quit being so hard on these schools! They are good deals, ran efficiently, and for the most part take the moral high ground! Real estate investment? It's a good idea! And it's normal! So shut up. Tuition hasn't actually gone up. Students are actually doing okay! So let's parse your statements because doing so is worthwhile considering all the above statements are true.

    I think the dean you are thinking of is the New England School of Law.

  54. I will have to dig around (I am busy) - but recently there was a report of a law school dean on a package that came close to $1 million total compensation with a salary of over $700k In many instances in New York the apartments are provided as part of the total compensation package and the benefit in kind tax is covered too.

    That is to say that there are some professors that are on egregiously high packages - and by that I do not mean $150-160k salary plus benefits, but $300k + and benefits. Is it the norm - who knows.



  55. Hard to know. Especially considering a situation like UT. Have to compete for talent though:


    Having graduated fairly recently, I can't imagine how much worse of a position I would be in had the employees of my law school not been treated so well. The market demands it!

  56. I would absolutely give up my free bar nights, the 1K per year I get for my students group, and extra student services (cut down the OCS for a dozen to two full-time employees and an outside event planner) if the profs would agree to lower their salaries and the dean would agree to fire a ton of useless admins.

    The extra benefits gained by the students from 1980 to now are a drop in the bucket compared to the benefits gained by the faculty. Million dollar interest free loans for plush NYC townhouses. Armies of administrative staff to take over the mundane aspects of running the day-to-day school and dealing with the students. Year long sabbaticals with full salary. A dozen law journals at my school alone to provide even more forums for them to publish. Innumerable Centers and Symposiums and Faculty Lecture Series. Don't try to push this on the "greedy" students. The amount of fat accumulated by the tenured faculty dwarfs what little went to the students.

  57. (1) Congress has investigated the cost rise based on tuition theory. Its been proven wrong. The real reason for cost increases is cuts in public education by states. The numbers are 1 to 1 in terms of dollar amounts. Bennett's theories were not ignored. they were tested and found wanting. People are revisiting his theories in the same way the the present House is "revisiting" arguments that have been proven false.

    I can once again post the COngressional hearings and reports, but I also expect to see a repeat of this article each time regardless of evidence.

    (2) ONce again, if one wants to see how a law school can be run cheaply: CUNY Law.

    Bruh Rabbit

  58. by the way- that report about no l ink is based on GOP insistence that tuition caused cost rather than cost causing cost. it failed to show what they wanted and now they are pushing it again

  59. How do cuts in public education funding by the states affect the cost of tuition at private law schools? If these cost cuts are the "real" reason for tuition increases, how come tuition at private schools is also increasing exponentially? Maybe because they can?

  60. Its funny how people here use market analysis when it suits them, but then ignore it n other context.

    The answer to your question is: Cost leading.

    If public schools are so much more cheaper to attend due to lower tuition, then private schools (which are a smaller percentage of all schools) could not hike tuition as much.

    its the same reason why the gop/democrats fault the Public Option in health care

    it would have been cheaper than private insurance. so they feared private insurance copanies could not compete.

  61. Question for Bruh:

    Is CUNY really run more cheaply than other law schools or are its expenditures simply borne more heavily by the New York taxpayer subsidies than by students' tuition?

  62. simple economics: yes

    at work so not much time to explain

    but consider interest feesa nd other charges alone are not being lost in economic consumption for servicing debt for students

    its cheaper for tax payers to fund than for tuition to cover education

    of course if you are conseervative none of this makes sense

    becaue govt bad, tax bad, etc

    if education, not just law school education, is a public good, then you are looking for coomparatives rather than education bad because markets are god

  63. Why do they need to raise tuition at all? If this was a private business, they would have to try cost cutting before they charged their customers more.

    It is clear that the raises over the past 40 years have provided enough money for law schools, I think a tuition freeze is a minimum thing to ask.

  64. I agree that state defunding is an important cause of the increase in public law school tuition, and that cost leading can result in private schools following suit. However, I disagree that these are the only "real" reasons for tuition increases.

    It would be counterintuitive (and wrong) to believe that state defunding can explain why professor's salaries are rising above the rate of inflation, why schools are investing heavily in new facilities, or why the ratio of support and administrative staff to faculty and students has increased. All of these things ultimately contribute to the increase in tuition.

  65. by the way, its ironic you speak of tax payers,

    thats the same reasoning used to say that kids only need 8th grade education when issue of funding k-12 came up

  66. one other by the way

    cost increase in tuition greater than if one simply paid directly as a tax payer. papers published on this too

  67. CUNY principally gets its money from the State and City. Revenues from tuition are important, too. CUNY started out as a free school, no one paid tuition. That history informs the state's willingness to subsidize the school's operations.

    As someone above asked, what else does CUNY do to keep tuition low?

  68. its 15k per year for law school or 4k or so for undergrad

    this is a conversation where one can test the seriousness of thought here

    if you think 15k versus 45k isn't serious , you arent serious

  69. 12:44 here

    We don't know if CUNY does anything else to keeps its tuition low besides receive state/city subsidy. For all we know, they may actually spend more per student than other state/privates its just that the cost to students is lower. They may or may not be a model to follow in keeping legal ed costs down. Just a model to follow for who pays those costs.

    And 12:49, you have no clue about my politics, but you have shared an unflattering insight into your personality

  70. @1:03--What do you mean?

  71. Bruh Rabbit

    If your numbers are true - and I'd like to see the evidence in real dollars -, then we are left with the irony of state funding (American taxpayer money) supposedly being replaced by mostly federal loans (American taxpayer money).

    Except now there is exponentially more private AND public debt than in the 60s and 70s when things were being funded by the state. Which makes me suspect that your numbers are faulty, but it would still be of use to see the cost in real dollars, including any state funding in the previous era.

  72. Bruh

    The majority of law schools are private. They too have had huge tuition increases. The problem is that they were not the subject of state funding and were thus not the subject of budget cuts. Now there is an argument that reducing subsidies to state schools raised the implicit floor/ceiling that state school tuition created for the private colleges, but it does not wholly explain the impact.

    The other problem is that the theory you are presenting fails to take account of the impact of the existence of the student loan system on states' decisions to cut public funding for colleges. To explain, it is one thing to cut public funding for colleges and then face a reduction in college places, closed schools, professors to janitors losing jobs. On the other hand, if it is a case of the college boys and girls queueing up at financial aid - it is a lot easier to live with.

    I would add that as Mandy Rice Davies so memorably put it " "Well, he would [say that], wouldn't he?" You are dealing with a group that want to validate the view that student loans are better than direct subvention toward educational cost. I would add that there has been a left-wing populist view that opposes public funding for colleges as much as there is a right wing view that back the same view. The leftwing view is in essence why should the proletariat pay for the education of the managerial class. We know the right wing view, which is driven by a different analysis to the same result.

    The other issue is that, for the most part, in a regime where the state is paying the vast majority of college costs (the regime I did my bachelors degree in) governments do make it clear what they will pay for, the proportion of STEM, etc. Governments would long ago have capped the number of law graduates they would pay for.

  73. yes i kind of do know your politics based on your choice of questions

    no we don't need to look up that to determine absolute cost to students is 13900 per year

    i can go on, but what would be t he point you will deny what you are till the end

  74. The percentage of leftwing people who are hostile to public funding is tiny,tiny, tiny, no where near the percentage of right wing people who are against public funding.The proletariat...?

  75. @2:11

    It depends on how left and how sane ... the ones I knew who opposed public funding were mostly frankly stark staring mad - gibbering loons - mostly Communist-ML (the ML stood for Marxist Leninist which was their short hand for following the teachings of Enver Hoxha) and a few in Militant (or the Militant Tendency), plus a scattering of Trots (who you never left in the same room as the Communist-ML types, unless you were looking for entertaining vituperation, and while tedious, sexually incontinent, and never known to pay for a round (though actually wealthy - and Tommy the Commie is now an overpaid professor in New York) - they did actually muster an intellectually consistent argument (stunningly if you knew them), if rife with hypocrisy.

    Arguing/debating with them was good training for arguing with the right wing (who are in the US more populous than the loony left were.) They too tend to take positions entirely driven by theoretical arguments unblemished by fact or compromise.

  76. Bruh - I really don't understand you. There are so many obvious wholes to your arguments that are repeatedly pointed out that the only thing I can conclude at this point is that you are one of those people who's entire world view is colored completely by a very particualr set of politics. In other words you're willfully ignorant.

    Stop trying to bootstrap reality onto your agenda and start trying to find real solutions. Regardless of state funding (which I wish paid for it all but I live in the real world where state budgets are collapsing) schools would not have been able to raise tuition without having access to cash. When the cash is in the form of unregulated non-dischargeable loans then you get what we have now.

    I am sure you know, since you are so smart, that there have been hundreds of other govt programs that have been cut over the last few years due to budget cuts....can you cite me another example where the users of these cut programs have seen an increase in the cost of these programs? Or have they simply disappeared? Can you guess why?

    Stop trying to connect the lack of state funding with rising tuition costs...THOSE ARE TWO DIFFERENT ISSUES. Do you really think that if NY started funding NYLS that they would cut tuition next year?

  77. *whose. Ahhh, screw it...Safari spell check sucks.

  78. Mac K

    1. As I said, this issue of loan fueled tuition increased was studied by Congress, and the link was found wanting. Its not pure theory on my part. CUNY reinforces the thesis as much as the Congress report does.

    2. I don't buy that law schools are atomized from the rest of academia. When I attended a law school, the cost of the law school was raised to pay for other parts of the school, including non-legal programs. Also, if you look at the inflation trend for law school I believe they don't differ significantly from overall inflationary cost. I don't mean absolute. I mean percentage growth per year.

    3. I am not against cutting costs or closing schools. I am against pretending the market will do that rathere than simply screw us as it has done every time in the last 30 years.

    I am fighting a wider trend over how to improve quality of life. That's only going to happen through public good. Why is law school 45 when we know it can be 13900. why are we saddling students with this debt?

    you may think that certain choices are the only acceptable ones for the public, but even the choices you advocate requires a change of how americans view things from atomized views to public good. the same thinking that leads one to not cover the cost of education even at the k-12 level is the same thinking that says bankruptcy is bad for student loans.


  79. except you haven't pointed out holes in my arguments. you just mention questions you have, but the questions if one thinks them through does not change the analysis.

  80. Giant hole - budget cuts to other programs do not lead to price increases in those programs (loacal elementary schools, for example) but to actual service suts. Can you guess why? Hint: no govt backed loans to pay for elementary education.

  81. ...and when I say "hint" I mean "answer."

  82. *cuts

    *service cuts

  83. Which relates how to CUNY costing 1/3 of the cost of other law schools despite the same student loans being available to CUNY students?

    Which means that cutting those services for K-12 was good how? You don't ask that question. You assume market effect (services cut)=good. End of conversation for you.

    the "hole" you seem to think is there is that magically you are right just by pointing out the effect, not whether the students and school district and parents were screwed by the cuts.

    may be you will find a real hole in my argument eventually, but right now all you are doing is providing fodder for why your arguments are danger.

    does anyone think its a good idea to cut without understanding the nature of the cuts? and how is this different than the extremism of the right exactly other than you saying that's not your label?

    bruh rabbit

  84. 12:44 / 1:11 here


    I'm the poster you immediately labeled as a conservative, not the poster who's been sparring with you the last few posts.

    Here's a direct quote from you: ONce again, if one wants to see how a law school can be run cheaply: CUNY Law Again I'll ask: do you know if CUNY has lower expenditures or is it substituting one government funding source (state) for another (federal via students as loan vessels) If the former, great let's see if their model can be applied to other schools to cut costs. If, as I suspect the latter, it's just a legacy funding outlier, CUNY doesn't offer us a reality-based solution to legal/college costs in the short term. Because only the Easter Bunny believes neoliberal, government cost-cutting policies are going to be repudiated in the next decade or two.

  85. CUNY gets 61 percent of its funding from New York state and New York City. The rest comes from tuition. I am sure some students get federal loans as well.

  86. Bruh Rabbit

    Genuine Question

    When was this study done by Congress? And which schools did they study?

    Because the point about private schools not receiving state funding in past decades is a valid one, and I suppose makes it necessary to study the cost of tuition at private schools, over the decades, to get an idea of the obscene price hikes without any state funding.

  87. This is ideology by cowardice

    "Because only the Easter Bunny believes neoliberal, government cost-cutting policies are going to be repudiated in the next decade or two."

    Whether you are conservative because you believe truly it, or because you are too afraid that any other idea will work out, you are still advocating conservative positions.

    If you are too cowardly to try to fight for something better than shit, you will always end up with shit. Its pretty much that simple. My reality: that you will end up with shit because you are too cowardly, trumps y our reality: that it will be difficult to fight for something else. What choice do you think you have? Apparently you and others thing you can still split the baby, and end up with a better outcome. Good luck with that one.

    Your argument requires the exact same "doing it for the public good" arguments that I rely on, except they result in worst outcomes because they aren't plan and rely on a hope and a prayer. You all that while having exhausted yourself on something you claimed would solve the problem- which isn't law school by the way. But the overall problem in education and the US economy. Law school is just one among many issues. Solutions aren't going to be tailored just for a few whiny lawyers.

    I assuming you support for example changing bankruptcy law to include student loans.

    Why should the public do that? Its your responsibility. You took on the debt. You shoould pay it. Why should the public bare the burden of higher costs for your mistakes? And on and on. The exact same arguments.

    You aren't real. You are just a fool who doesn't realize how your own arguments require people to give a damn about you or your problems.

    By the way, I pretty much ignored the rest of your post. Again, the fact CUNY exists means the arguments about student loans aren't per se true. That's a factual point you can't dispute.

  88. sorry for the typos

  89. by the way- every time I read "reality based" I think of Obama explaining how Medicare for all was impossible in the US despite us already having Medicare but a Mandate to buy private insurance was the American way. That's obviously a sarcastic paraphrase. Ironically, the part of Obamacare that looks like it may survive Constitutional challenge may be the part regarding Medicaid- or the public insurance component. The point is that "reality" is complicated. It includes the fact that sometimes to get what you want you have to stop creaing compromises with yourself that end up setting you back more than moving you forward.

  90. You keep citying exactly one case, CUNY, as if that means much of anything. ONE school...and you fail to answer simple questions about why its tuition levels are what they are.

    "Which means that cutting those services for K-12 was good how?"

    WHAT?!?!?!? Where and when did I say this? I notice you use this tactic a lot. I didn't say it was a good thing nor do I believe it was/is. THE POINT WAS THAT STATE FUNDING DISAPPEARING DOES NOT LEAD TO HIGHER PRICES FOR THAT PROGRAM....which is the reason you consistently cite for the explosion in law school tuition. Ignore this point again.

    "You assume market effect (services cut)=good."

    WHAT?!?!?!? Where and when did I say this? Again, I notice you use this tactic a lot. Someone does not buy you're flawed, dopey argument whole-hog then they must be a free market neo-liberal. The discussion here is why tution has exploded and not the solution. I do not believe in a free market solution (for all the obviosu reasons) but the larger problem here is the nature of student loans which YOU REPEATEDLY IGNORE. What is your problem? You cannot admit that non-dischargeable loans are the reason schools can charge what they charge? That giving these out without any protection for students and absolutely no price control on tuition is a really bad idea? These loans are not a government subsidy for the students but a way for schools to get paid over 30 years at inflated prices AT THE COST AND EXPENSE OF THE STUDENT.

    "the "hole" you seem to think is there is that magically you are right just by pointing out the effect, not whether the students and school district and parents were screwed by the cuts."

    WHAT?!?!?!? No, apparently the hole is in your head. Of course the parents were screwed by the cuts. THAT WAS NOT THE ARGUMENT. THE ARGUMENT WAS THAT CUTS IN STATE FUNDING DOES NOT LEAD TO RISE IN PRICES OF THOSE PROGRAMS. That is YOUR argument. YOU ARE BLAMING THE RISE IN TUITION ON THE CUTS IN STATE FUNDING. I HAVE JUST EXPLAINED TO YOU HOW THIS WAS NOT TRUE VIA THE PUBLIC SCHOOL EXAMPLE. How many times do I need to say this in all caps before it sinks in?

    Again, state cuts are a bad thing but they did not lead to tuition hikes. Student loans did. Period. (unless you want to show me how public elementary schools were able to charge parents tuition....I'll be waiting).

    Understand my argument before answering. But you won't.

  91. (1) The research was conducted in the late 90s. I am sure there have been more since t hat time. There's actually quite a bit of research on the topic of what's producing education costs. Most of it comes down to infrastructural costs and passing on those costs from the state to the consumer.

    (2) The private school portion is problematic as an argument for 2 reasons (a) as I mentioned it is lead most likely by the cost of public schools even if it doesn't receive state funding. The price point for education goes up because so much of education is public education and public education with cuts has gone up immensely. (b) As I remember the percentage of public to private still vastly favors the public schools. Why should your parsing change the argument exactly? The cost curve has been going up at faster than the rate inflation for all education and law school since the early 80s.

  92. Public colleges have faced exactly the same cuts in funding for their MSW programs as they have for their JD programs. So, why is MSW tuition almost always much lower than JD tuition at the same state school? Nothing about teaching social workers is inherently less expensive than teaching lawyers, except for the fact that social work professors are less-well payed, which seems to be an effect rather than a cause. Everyone here agrees that de-funding of public education is bad, and that it explains part of the tuition increases that we've seen, but it doesn't explain the whole thing.

  93. Also, there are unlimited, non-dischargable federal loans available for MSW programs - and yet we haven't seen an explosion in MSW tuition anywhere near the explosion in JD tuition. Loans also explain only part of the problem.

  94. (1) CUNY exist. 1 or 200, you need to explain why.

    (2) You are right. They weren't arguing for tuition. They were arguing for decreasing how much education K-12 received in NY state to say that an 8th grade education is sufficient. The cuts results in a different outcome, but same screwing us over.

    (3) Here's some links to cuts in state funding leads to tuition increases




    this fact is not even a matter of conservative versus liberal. here's the moonie times discussing it and spinning at the old folks fault for being old and asking for state h elp so college funds were cut by the states:


    If you care to babble on about how it doesn't, please rebutt the data

  95. (1) Cost of MSW


    (2) I already explained that earlier. When they cut the overall budgets, the schools prioritize where to increase tuition. When budgets at by school was cut, they hiked the cost more in some programs rather than others, but that doesn't change the fact the budgets were cut. Just how they apportioned the the shock.

    By the way- you and others added the "whole thing" part once you, I guess, realized you couldn't completely ignore the argument I making. Not everyone agrees with what I am saying. Hence, comments like this:


    The public school example given was k-12, which cost cutting has lead to a different solution to the problem. Namely, a state like NY state arguing that people can get along with with just an 8th grade level of education by the time they graduate high school. However, the main point is that they are disputing the argument that a significant factor in the rise of education costs is due to cuts in tax dollars going to cover the cost of education.

  96. Hey Easter Bunny,

    4:21 here, not 5:06

    FYI: I definitely agree that student loan bankruptcy is a good thing and that the states should more heavily subsidize public education. But in the next generation that's not going to happen. Period. Full Stop. You'd have an equal chance of converting the Taliban to Christianity as you do overturning the entrenched neoliberalism.
    You want reasons for that fatalistic projection: in my state, Minnesota, the government shut down over a 5 billion dollar deficit that was only plugged by stealing from K-12 districts. And now with a slightly better economic forecast, the top priority of the DFL governor Dayton and the Repub Assembly: not re-paying the districts, but transferring a half a billion to a sports team owner. So yeah, if realizing that banging ones head against the wall eventually results in damage to ones head and and unmoved wall means I'm a "coward", so fucking be it.

    So what is to be done in the meantime? What's your short term solution (i.e. in the next 10 years) for those students who will enter college or law schools? Other than bitching about the current state of affairs blog, what exactly are you personally doing to change that status quo? It's quite obvious from your kindergarten-level rants that coalition-building is not a skill you possess.

  97. My first solution is about you and how you and most of people who claim to be liberal think. You are problem more than conservatives. You start from "But in the next generation that's not going to happen. Period. Full Stop. You'd have an equal chance of converting the Taliban to Christianity as you do overturning the entrenched neoliberalism." THere is no point after that in discussing ideas since you have already decided for everyone else how they are going to react to other arguments." Whether you are a right winger by choice or fear the result in the same. If you want to know why states like yours exist is because folks just like you said it was easier to help make the trains run a little faster than rock the boat of where its all headed.

    There aren't any solutions to the problem until you (collectively as a society) changes. Bankruptcy reform is as delusional under such a system as anything I can propose.

    I am not bitching about change. I am stating the first thing that has to happen. Whether you accept that or not is your deal. I am going to work on building my life one way or the other. None of that is feel goodism. Nothing that I describe is easy.In fact,its going to be an uphill battle. But I prefer that to the delusion that I can keep on banging my head against the same wall of the last 30-years, and expecting a different result.

  98. Footie Pajamas

    (A Poem for the condescending/and or patronizing Corporate law school Industrial Complex that treats the indebted people whose lives they are absolutely destroying oppressed like idiot children)

    Footie Pajamas.
    Footie Pajamas!
    Footie Pajamas, so cuddly and cute!
    He liked Teddy Bears
    and toy trains that go:
    And orange boxcutters
    (the point's hardly moot)

    But where is your Charcoal gray Lawyer's suit?

    I'll admit little Footie had all the best grades.

    But who taught him those tricks with sharp razor blades?

    Not U.S.! Said the Dean of the Law School of snobs.

    If they can't find jobs.....they're nothing but SLOBS!

    And for all that WE care...they can Post on SCAMBLOGS!

    Poor, poor little Footie,
    now white as a sheet.
    His debt made him crack as he pounded the street.

    He went home and got drunk...
    held a knife in both fists...

    and first one,

    then the other

    he opened both wrists.

    Footie Pajamas!
    Oh! Footie Pajamas!

    Footie Pajamas,
    so cuddly and cute!

    But where is your charcoal grey Lawyers's suit?

  99. Bruh, I think everyone agrees with you that de-funding is a big problem and that it contributes a great deal to increase in tuition. Why is it so hard for you to accept that there are also other factors? Acknowledging that there is more than one cause of the problem doesn't make the cause you're focused on less important. Refusing to acknowledge that increasing faculty salaries above the rate of inflation while simultaneously cutting teaching loads leads to increased tuition is just as insane as refusing to acknowledge that state de-funding leads to tuition increases, or refusing to acknowledge that the combination of guaranteed loans and elimination of bankruptcy leads to tuition increases. Even if states returned to (inflation adjusted) funding levels equal to what was provided in the 60's, tuition today would still higher. This isn't an argument against restoring the funding levels of the 60's.

  100. Forget about it 5:59. As soon as someone agrees with the Easter Bunny he just moves the goal posts of his ideological purity.

  101. Sorry guys, but I just have to vent.

    I was on an Amtrak train today. I met a student at [insert expensive private school here] who is thinking about going to [insert private TTT law schools already/about to be sued here]. She has 100K in UG debt and a 155 LSAT which she barely studied for ("well, I was working a lot, and it's really hard to study for the test when everyone else is partying!). No scholarship money. She is from a working class family where her mother makes 30K a year and she makes about the same waitressing. In the hour long conversation we had she managed to trot out nearly every single clueless 0L cliche in the book. She has a prelaw degree, so she can't get jobs outside of law school. Her two semesters abroad during UG and basic command of a language will give her a leg up in war crimes and human rights law. She knows the job situation is bad, but adversity hasn't stopped her before. She REALLY REALLY wants to be a lawyer, unlike all her classmates who don't really care. She needs to go to law school, because she sees no other way she can make payments on the 96K of debt she has.

    I was floored by that last one. I asked if she had federal loans. She said yes. I asked if she knew what IBR was. She said no. This person, this "sophisticated consumer" to be precise, was thinking of taking on another 150K of law school debt because -- she didn't want to pay back her 100K in UG debt for three years!

    This girl knew the score. She knew a lot of unemployed grads. She even knew of people waitressing and bartending at her restaurant with JDs from the schools she wanted to attend!

    I asked her how many people in her pre-law program wanted to go to law school. More than half. I asked her how many knew about the articles in the NYT and almost every other major national paper. She said almost none. I gave her the URL of this site and others.

    I am writing this post on a red-eye train back to New York. Hopefully I got through to her. But I know I didn't. Next year she will march off to law school. And Judge Melvin Schweitzer will still be convinced she's a reasonable person acting reasonably. And TTT profs and deans will be happy to take her loan checks- while crowing about social justice and fairness.


    1. I totally agree with the rant above. I think the law schools are just as culpable. I mean nobody in academics deserves that kind of tuition. They're tenured, they're not on the line. It's all a scam. I graduated from college in 1997 and had worked for a lawyer in upstate NY while in school. His daughter went to Cornell Law and was teaching the LSAT in Ithaca..couldn't find a job. He was sucessful because he ran the country bank..mortgages..title work..only game in town type of idea. He said do accounting, finance, anything other than law. He then proceeded to take out the white pages and show me the number of lawyers in upstate NY. He said..Now take that number and multiply it by 10,000 and you get NYC...maybe He said unless you make law review and go to michigan, Harvard,etc. forget it. It's a scam. The law schools massage employment stats and the deans and profs rake in the cash. IB associates make $350K and they're working 110 hours per week. You blow a deal, you're fired. These fuckers aren't even on the line. The undergrads schools are also to blame. I mean I get a letter from my undergrad school that wants me to contribute to its endowment b/c they need more money after spending $30 mm on a squash facility. I told the head of development to fuck himself. UNless there is more disclosure, these schools are running a racket like that of the mob. Glad I am a CPA. I mean U MInnesota law is a prime example..."98.9% of those reporting employment" are employed. What the FUCK does that mean ? You mean out of 300 law school students, 98/100 or 9/10 are employed. What bullshit is that ? You're really better off going to a value play like U maryand, Texas, or Georgia, try your shot at law review at a lower price and if you don't get it..then fuck it at least you didn't spend $80,000 per annum at G'Town.

    2. By the way BC law and New York Law had their asses sued off by pissed off students. Of course the judges ruled in favor of the schools. They all in on it. If you really crush the LSAT, got to a school that costs no money. Maybe they give you tuition remission. I know guys that worked for juvenile justice that arem't paying for school or at least had discounted prices. The local firms..whether national or not always hire the local boys anyway. Why give your money to these overpaid fuckheads.

  102. She's obviously not a reasonable person acting reasonably, but it would hard to argue that she made her choice by relying on misleading job placement statistics posted by the school. Some people just can't be saved - or can only be saved as a consequence of a complete change in the structure of providing and funding legal education.

  103. I don't think there is a realistic prospect of carving legal education out of the overall problem of the cost of higher education in general. I would say that she has a lot more information than many people have. You say she actually knows people who are in a tough spot after going to the law school she wants to attend. I don't understand the point of agonizing over someone else's choices when they have been given the opportunity to make others.

  104. 6:55 I agree, and that's why I'm sure the appeals court will uphold the MTD on different grounds.

    7:24 Although she was more informed than her classmates, this person still had no idea what IBR was. Her financial aid counselor did not even tell her. She had no clue that "international law" was concocted law prof bullshit. She'd never heard of ATL or TLS, never mind this site or JDU. Never heard of the lawsuits. She and her mother were, with incomes below 30K, able to take on about 100K of UG debt. She told me her mother marveled at how easy it was.

  105. I would think that seeing multiple unemployed graduates from the school she wants to attend would be a fair warning. You have given her information. If she still wants to go, she will go.

    Well, there such a thing as "international law", public and private. Whether the person you met on the train will get to be involved in it any way is another matter.

  106. 7:41: I (and she) meant international law as most 0Ls envision it, doing war crimes trials in the Hague, saving pristine rainforests from evil corporations, or brokering the Israel-Palestine peace agreement. She certainly will not enter that kind of law from the schools she was admitted to.

    I came away from the conversation guardedly optimistic that she would at least IBR for a year, properly study for the LSAT, and reapply. I am anxious, however, because she was unfamiliar with or simply unable to seek out even the most basic information like the news stories, law blogs, or lawsuits. This is interesting, as some have claimed that the information is very easily obtainable and that anyone who attends law school now is officially on notice.

  107. 559

    Read the comments here. They don't all agree. Its really strange at this point where I can quote directly from someone saying they don't agree, and you will post "everyone agrees with you" At some point, the problem is you are living in you own reality and ain't much I can post to get you to stop doing that.

    Bruh Rabbit

  108. 630

    I directly proved everything that I was told was not the case. What were you going to say other than admit part of it is true even as one of you still direclty said I was wrong. And now, you are acting like a 14 year old by using a different name for me other than the one that I actually use as a screen name. Perhaps not knowing the significance of the screen name or perhaps because, and this is more likely, you are full of shit and when cornered about your fucked up thinking, got nothing. I notice you whine about solutions, but I point out why you don't have any, and you move on to name calling rather than responding to how doign the same old shit you have done for 30 decades as a society will change a thing. And you keep saying "you agree" does not mean shit if "your agreement" amounts to "but we are too chicken shit to fight for that because we don't believe it will happen." Once again, there's no diference between you and a conservative other than you are too chicken shit to prevent conservatives from doing what they want. Good luck with that approach. I get hte feeling you are going to need it.

  109. "By the way- you and others added the "whole thing" part once you, I guess, realized you couldn't completely ignore the argument I making. Not everyone agrees with what I am saying. Hence, comments like this:


    WHAT?!?!?! Bruh, you are a tiresome fool. You are impossible to have a decent conversation. @6:30 has you pegged completely.

    How can law schools raise tution after the cuts in state funding without student loans?!? Where would the money come from? Again, HOW COME K-ELEMENTARY SCHOOL HASN'T BECOME MORE EXPENSIVE? Why?

    Budget cuts and non-dischargeable student debt are two very different issues, you ideological dope.

  110. OK Bruh, I concede that there is one troll here who doesn't agree with your argument about causation. But even the troll agrees that state funding cuts are bad, even if he doesn't want to admit that they are a cause of rising tuition.

    I haven't seen a single person (at least in the responses to this post - I'll admit that some such people exist) arguing that state funding cuts are good, or arguing that an unregulated free market would solve this problem. When these people show up, feel free to release your wrath, but it's not productive to accuse your potential allies of being these people.

  111. TIL that troll = disagreeing with your stupid repetetive endless point.

    @8:56 - stop trolling please.

  112. State funding cuts are good.

  113. Where is lawprof? He didn't post yesterday?

    By the way, the small town in upstate new York where my son goes to school is desperate to control taxes. This place has been anti- development since the 60s and voted out any proposal that would have brought in light industry tax revenue. People fund the school system based on the independent school tax. The property taxes are so high it is ridiculous. People won't buy a house where the taxes are so high.

    The school board in this town is incompetent. They tried to float a huge bond issue 3 years ago in the face of the recession. When that failed they threatened to close one school, then the head of the school board was arrested for dealing marijuana. Now they want to spend just under a million dollars to buy a piece of real property because it is near the school.

    The reason k-12 education hasn't gone up is that, at least in new york state, the school tax on real property went up every year. It isn't reasonable to say that k -12 education hasn't cost more each year.

    1. I posted this in response to the guy above who claimed that k-12 education hasn't gotten more expensive each year. Simple answer-- raising taxes meant that it has gone up.

      Also note that k-12 private education has risen significantly over the past 20 years. There are no government loans for this, but it becomes a factor of what the market can bear. Private schools raise tuition by a few thousand dollars every year in new York city. They have no problem filling seats due to the private wealth in the city. But the point is the same, k-12 has gone up.

      I agree this gas nothing to do with the greed of law schools (and private undergrads- I'm looking at you Columbia) who have also been happy to push the limit on what the market will bear.

  114. Bored3l

    You must not have spent time on TLS. This girls view is known as the "special snowflake" attitude. If your point was that college grads are not sophisticated consumers, I completely agree. Whether it is their own fault? She might be an example of why it is their own fault. They don't seek information. They don't study for the LSAT. But they have always overcome adversity.

  115. The penalty for those with "special snowflake" syndrome should be that they can't attend law school. The penalty should not be 200K of non-dischargable debt and a lifetime of underemployment.

    1. I agree. Buit the thing is - if they won't listen at some point it is their own fault. I mentioned before the guy on TLS who posted " I hear your warning and I'm ignoring it.". This was after he had been told quite clearly that he was about to job off a cliff.

      So is he responsible? He was adamant about

    2. .... Making his own decision.

      At what point are the students responsible? I am genuinely curious about people's opinions on this.

  116. No, K-12 may be more expensive but it is only funded through the state. Can anyone here follow a simple argument??? The point was that because of budget cuts (which some of you pointed out actually didn't happen in your particular States,which makes this argument even more pointless...if costs have risen and the state still pays for it then how exactly does this apply here?) law schools were able to charge crazy tuition from every student. This is not happening for K-12...the state still pays for it all. The point wasn't that the cost has risen (see below for why) but who has to pay for the vacuum if the state starts making cuts. There are other states besides NY. Finally, please calculate the cost per k-12 student for each state and compare it to law students...again, can you figure out the discrepancy?

    K-12 cost increases in NY state are largely due to admin and teachers salaries thanks to their powerful unions (Im pro-union but govt employee unions need a few more checks...but thats another argument for another day).

  117. Individual students are responsible for their own decisions, and have no one to blame but themselves if they choose to take on excessive amounts of debt after being warned that they are likely to graduate into (at best) a job that can't be realistically expected to provide a salary adequate to service the debt and (at worst) complete unemployment.

    However, government and law school administrators also have a responsibility not to create and perpetuate a system that allows students to make this mistake. This is exactly the same as the housing crisis; of course people who took out 400K mortages on 40K annual salaries are responsible for their poor decision, but no bank should have made such a loan to begin with.







  120. I've been an active poster on TLS since I applied to law school four years ago. I am familiar with the Choosing Your Law School forums and the insanity that goes on there. Unlike many of the anti-reform movement, I also know real, live college students and how poor their grasp on reality is. Not a single person I know from UG or high school attended a school ranked higher than 100.

    It's become clear to me at this point, having a) lived through a recession in which close family members who saved, scrimped, and behaved with financial prudence suffer because of the rash financial decisions of a few borrowers/lenders/banks, b) about to enter a profession which is a cartel protected partially by the trust the public has for lawyers, that we cannot continue on this present course without risking irreparable damage to the profession. There are law deans, professors, and biglawyers who benefit in the short-term from the status quo and either don't know or don't care about the long-term effects it will have on the profession. There are students at good law schools, who see themselves in a completely different caste from the lower ranked grads scrambling for doc review or small firm jobs. They still haven't realized that we are all in this "thing of ours" together. 45K JDs with 20K job openings affects all of us.

    In my mind it is immaterial whether her decision has crossed the line into being "her responsibility" or not. The question is not "who is to blame," but "what is to be done?"

    Note that my main advice to her was to retake, IBR or go to community college for a year, continue to work while using the many free or cheap resources out there to study for the LSAT (I used TLS and the official LSAT books to prepare). This was even more important because she did the worst on the Games section- which is all about preparation can be mastered with the use of the Powerscore bibles. Many people who read this site would advise her not to attend law school AT ALL, citing the studies that show lawyers have higher than average rates of depression, suicide, substance abuse, and anxiety. I would not go that far, but I would favor a system in which students were required to wait until they had acquired certain credentials and there were cost-effective ways to acquire those credentials. Law school on demand is bad for everyone except professors and deans.

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