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James Morrison
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CRB wrote: "The federal government should not lend more money than is likely to be capable of being repaid (without undue hardship) by the average graduate of the school the student is borrowing to attend" ------------------------ If that were the standard, 90% of law students would not be allowed to borrow for law school. $150,000 to $200,000 in student loan debt practically requires a $100,000+ job to support the loan payments. You can be sure that no bank would approve those loans without a solid co-signer or serious collateral. How many students realistically get jobs as lawyers paying enough money to justify the debt? 10% or less is a realistic estimate. But as long as the federal government is offering unlimited loans, this scam will continue.
CRB wrote: "I agree it would be better to focus on cost, value, and employment prospects (though both your example schools are better on these metrics than many others)." CRB, I can assure you that Seattle U School of Law (#84) or Gonzaga University School of Law (#121) have absolutely dismal employment prospects locally. The bulk of the graduates never get any job as a lawyer, but they still have those student loans that cannot be discharged in BK court. CRB wrote: "I definitely agree that we need loan reform, not to force schools to shut down, but to make sure that the value proposition is linked to funding. The federal government should not lend more money than is likely to be capable of being repaid (without undue hardship) by the average graduate of the school the student is borrowing to attend" But that is exactly the problem that law schools are desperate to ignore. There is zero value derived from about 1/3 to 1/2 of the law schools. The simple fact is that there are not enough jobs to justify 200 ABA law schools. That is not a recent issue. It has been so for many years before 2007. There is no way that any value proposition can be presented that justifies keeping 200 ABA law schools open. We need a bunch of them to shutdown and just go away. It is simple math. We have 45,000 law school graduates per year. There are approximately 15,000 real lawyer jobs for them. Even during the good years of a decade ago, it was still quite bad, just not as well documented as it is now. There are some fake jobs funded by law school "fellowships", some dead end doc review temp jobs, etc. But that is all BS to fake the employment stats. We can talk about reform and improving law schools till we are blue in the face. It doesn't change the core fact that there just not enough jobs to justify the current size of the legal education industry. The students have already figured it out and are bailing. It will likely take a few more years before the law professors realize the party is over.
CBR, All very good points you made there. We might be observing a bimodal distribution of the law schools affected most by the declining pool of LSAT takers and scores. The schools most likely to be affected are: 1) Those at the top (after HYS) which want to desperately maintain their ranking. They will shrink their class size to maintain certain standards and take the financial hit short term, in the hope that this is just temporary and everything will come back. The easy cuts were made in 2012. If the trend continues, it may be tougher to maintain LSAT and GPA standards in 2013 and beyond. 2) Those schools at the very bottom of the fourth tier. They might be seeing their mouth breathers going to TT or TTT options as those schools reach lower into the pool. Since a TT or TTT school doesn't really care about their ranking as much, they have nothing to lose by now accepting those who would have previously only qualified for TTTT oblivion. I live in the state of Washington. Univ of Washington at #20 cares about it's ranking. But seriously, a TT/TTT dump like Seattle U School of Law or Gonzaga University School of Law are going to make sure those classes are full. The only real solution to the TTT/TTTT dumps to to put more restrictions on the unlimited federal student loans. It makes no sense to fund worthless degree programs with tax dollars. Some limits need to be put in place that will force worthless degress (not just law school) to shutdown.
Jacqueline Lipton wrote: "I've met a number of students in recent years happily ensconced at third and fourth tier schools, even though they could transfer to 'higher ranked' schools because they are pleased with the level of student/instructor interaction and support and they are confident in job placement and bar passage at those schools. Can we not give students credit for making decisions about where they want to study outside the rankings?" --------------------- They may be happily ensconced at third and fourth tier schools, but that happiness tends to end during that third year when they emerge from that bubble and realize that the first student loan payment on that $100,000 to $200,000 debt (at 7.9%) is about to come due. At that point pure panic, anxiety and depression start to trickle into those brains that only produced a 140 LSAT score. "and they are confident in job placement and bar passage at those schools" Seriously? If they were foolish enough to enroll at a third or fourth tier school with anything less than a full scholarship, do you really think they are qualified to have confidence in job placement? Those students are twits and got scammed into attend those schools. Probably over 75%+ of TTT and TTTT law grads will never get a job as a lawyer.
CBR, Fair enough points. When this trend started a few years ago, we all thought that it would affect the lower ranked law schools first and they would be forced to make the changes. The conventional wisdom was that smart kids would still apply to top law schools. However, the numbers seem to be turning that thinking inside out. The smart kids are avoiding law school altogether. There are still plenty of lemmings willing to pay $40,000 (with Grad Plus loans at 7.9%) per year for TTT and TTTT schools. They are already at the bottom, so they certainly don't care about standards when they will accept any mouth breather that can sign a student loan form. So if tier 1 law schools have to shrink classes to maintain their class profile (aka US News rank) when does that start forcing schools to shrink salaries, cut staff, stop building new law palaces?
Jacqueline Lipton, How complicated is your move that you really are this out of touch? I can understand if the story broke over the weekend while you were moving. But that is not the case. This story has been developing for months, if not years. This is a basic economic challenge facing your institution and the entire legal industry. "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
"U.S. News and the Shrinking Class Size" ------------------- It is jobs. That is it. We have about 45,000+ law graduates each year. It is estimated that somewhere between 33% to 50% will ever get real jobs actually requiring their JD. The reason the application pool is changing is because the real information is now well documented online. Sources such as 'Law School Transparency' and 'Inside the Law School Scam' have done a solid job of exposing the oversupply of lawyers been dumped on the market. The funny thing is, if you look at the changing profile of LSAT takers, it is the smart kids that are now avoiding law school. The number of high scoring LSAT students has fallen dramatically. The decline on the lower end of scores has been much smaller. The smart kids have figured out that even those who get jobs as lawyers are actually in a dead end. 3-5 years of biglaw, then washed out? Is that really worth the risk? Most of the smart kids have done the math and figured out that the legal industry is likely facing a huge crash. Then when you consider the impact of and Suzie Orman DIY kits, who really thinks small law firms are likely to prosper in the near future? Do you still think it is just US News? Heck no !!! It is common sense. Going to law school is just pure idiotic these days with the future outlook for the job.
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Sep 17, 2012