Posts Tagged ‘Law school scam’

Fighting a Losing Battle

May 21, 2011

Here’s a New York Times article about how some less prestigious law schools offer more scholarships than they intend to renew.  Not that they’re going out and cancelling aid.  It’s just that with grade curves many students are finding it nearly impossible to meet minimum GPA requirements to keep their aid.  I wrote about this sort of thing last fall.  Response from a more prestigious law school that they didn’t even know such things were done.

Student Loan Debt

May 9, 2011

An ABA article reports that law student debt for student loans has gone up 50% over the last decade.  It’s attributed to rises in tuition.  In round numbers, the average debt is $69,000 for public schools and $106,000 for private schools.  Remember, those are just averages: some are graduating with less, some are graduating with potentially much, much more.  I’m assuming the ABA’s numbers do not include undergraduate debt.  The rule of thumb I’ve often seen and heard repeated is that a graduate should not take on more debt than they expect their new job to pay annually.  I don’t know that the math is going to work out for everyone.

Crushing Student Debt

December 23, 2010

Many, many people would say that the rising cost of medical care is a problem for the United States.  Student debt is rising at a rate three times as fast.  Right now, there’s over $800,000,000,000 in student debt in the United States.  Personally, I think that’s a problem, especially if it’s being invested in an educational field that may not pay off.  Article from MSNBC/CNBS on rising student debt.  Analysis from Above the Law on said article.  Both good reads.

Personally, I don’t want to automatically blame the system.  I think there’s a lot of silly educational decisions being made.  They’re not being looked as investments.  Which, given all the long range implications of borrowing a lot of money to invest in an education in the hope of paying back all the money borrowed, might be a bit much to ask of high school seniors.  Would a high school senior be expected to competently sign a mortgage agreement with a bank?

Applaud or Cringe?

December 2, 2010

Today I heard that some law schools, not the one I attend, but some law schools will put all the scholarship recipients in the same section.  The scholarship recipients have to maintain a GPA to maintain their scholarship.  But the section is curved.  So no matter what, some of the scholarship recipients will not be able to maintain the required GPA, and will lose their scholarships.  That’s diabolical genius on the part of the administration.  Wipe out a third of the scholarship budget after the first year!

My Turn: Law School Scam

November 19, 2010

Having posted two links this week to articles on the law school scam, I thought I should weigh in with my thoughts.

I wonder how the employment struggles of newly graduated law schools correlate with legal practice area (private vs. public), school prestige, and academic performance.  Are there practice areas that aren’t struggling?  Are the very top schools struggling to place graduates?  Are the very best students struggling to find work?  I think one big idea of a law school scam is probably far, far too broad.

I do not doubt that the basic idea of the law school scam, students taking on great debt to attend law school and then being unable to find jobs to support repayment fo the debt, is true.  However, I wonder if this may be more a function of debt taken on than the job market.  Perhaps prospective students should take a long hard look at if they can afford to attend law school in the first place.

Naturally, this raises accessibility concerns.  I’m sure many would say one’s academic ability and passion about the law should be what determines if one is able to go to law school, not their bank account.  That’s hard to argue with.  What the answer is, I don’t know for sure, but it might have more to do with reducing costs in the first place than increasing means of financing those costs and their repayment.

Personally, I’m telling myself the job market is sure to turn around in time for the Class of 2013.  I’m basing that on the opinions of a few currently practicing attorneys and optimism.  My fingers are crossed.

Early Detection Saves Lives

November 18, 2010

Now the Ohio State Bar Association is weighing in on the Law School Scam.

The Ostrich

November 16, 2010

Prospective law student sees six figure salary data.  Prospective law student wants in on that.  Law school tuition has been steadily rising.  Law student incurs great debt to pay the steadily rising tuition. The law job market is lousy.  Newly graduated law student encounters this job market and is unable to find the six figure salary job hoped for.  Newly graduated law student faces challenge of then paying great debt incurred to pay steadily rising tuition.  Law school already has tuition and is welcoming in the next crop of 1L’s.  This is what has come to be known as the law school scam.

This is the first that I’ve mentioned the law school scam on my blog.  I’ve purposely been silent on it to avoid fueling the fear.  But, now, The Economist has written on it, I thought the time had come to mention it.

So read the article.  I don’t know if “scam” is the best word, but law school tuition has been rising, law students do incur vast sums of educational debt, and I am sure far more law students dream about six figure salaries than successfuly land those job.  Best go into these things with eyes wide open and a good grounding in reality, an approach I try to practice myself.