What percent of law schools should close?

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What percent of law schools should close?

0%
4
2%
25%
50
21%
50%
131
55%
75%
41
17%
93% (All but T14)
13
5%
 
Total votes: 239

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sinfiery
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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby sinfiery » Tue May 28, 2013 10:47 am

Use the median lawyer salary (less than 50% of lawyers are in biglaw) versus that of X field and see how it makes financial sense. Problem is for most calculations involving no components of biglaw as part of the mix that don't intend to rely upon PLSF, those schools will likely not give you anywhere near a 100% chance to become a lawyer longterm.

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justonemoregame
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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby justonemoregame » Tue May 28, 2013 11:08 am

Anyone think a law school will close before a dozen more open?

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/05/2 ... chool.html

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 28, 2013 11:37 am

justonemoregame wrote:Anyone think a law school will close before a dozen more open?

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/05/2 ... chool.html


Is Vermont still the closest? Did they ever get that military recruiting money back?

The ones who would be in the most trouble would be the small private TTTTs, obviously. But wasn't the 20% drop in applicants only like a 10% drop for TTT/TTTTs? None will close before anybody on this board stops caring.

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jbagelboy
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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby jbagelboy » Tue May 28, 2013 12:38 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
jbagelboy wrote: You have posted many conclusions since creating an account two weeks ago; first, your calculations and lists are good efforts and impressive for one person, so thank you. However, this, among other conclusory remarks based on tedious assumptions, has some serious flaws.

1) roughly half of recent BAs are underemployed (part time) and 25% are unemployed, thus making signicantly less that $45K/year.

2) if you miss biglaw on sizeable debt, you dont just default. Many non-biglaw individuals go into PI or clerkships by CHOICE and employ debt relief LRAP programs. if you miss both PI and biglaw, You go on IBR for 10 years. Your scenario omits the reality lived by most JDs. Its far from glorious, but not wage garnishing.

3) lastly, some people actually would prefer practicing law than some other "45k" job. Some of these jobs are horrible, and some (but far from all) non- biglaw work can be rewarding.

Overall, your statements economically are valid and I agree a JD is only worth it under certain circumstances, but be conscious of the serious assumptions you're engaged in


1. Do you have a source for the 25% unemployed figure? That seems very high to me. That's not suggesting you're incorrect, just that I haven't heard that before. I was operating under an assuming of about 6% unemployment (news source here. I know the total unemployment figure for twenty-somethings is not a perfect analogue for the unemployment rate nine months after graduation, for example, but it seems like it shouldn't be significantly higher. Of course, this rate varies significantly by type of grad--STEM grads have a figure probably around two percent, whereas those in the humanities might be around 11 or 12 percent.


"Half" underemployed: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/2 ... 68203.html
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government ... eremployed
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/3 ... 86651.html

these range from 40-50% underemployed (not requiring a BA). These jobs are definitely under $45K. Vast majority are part time work ~$20K. A lot of these kids end up having to live with their parents since they can't afford CoL. Your forbes figure is for FULLY EMPLOYED graduates, not an average of ALL BA's. Lots of kids applying to law school are unemployed or underemployed non-STEM graduates. That's part of the appeal.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/arc ... de/274580/

see the chart "Employment for Recent College Graduates". Remember that the 8.8% "unemployment" figure for this age range only counts those actively applying for/searching for jobs. We have to look at unemployed + not searching. Only 72% of recent college grads are actually engaged in the work force at all; granted, you're right its gone down slightly from last year, and we could revise down from 25% to 18-20% given some students in Ph.D programs might have an enviable stipend, but its still significantly higher than you are meriting. The point is, your model must adjust to reflect those bachelors in this position who have more incentive than most to apply to law school and acquire (in their mind) a more marketable degree.

I don't know where you are getting your STEM vs non-STEM numbers, other than just pure conjecture.

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:2. I don't know the ins and outs of IBR/PAYE as well as others on this board do, but my understanding was that they allow you to essentially tread water on your debt (at a non-Biglaw position, be it clerking or otherwise, and sticker debt, it would come out to roughly covering the interest) until you are in a better financial position. The natural extension of that question is what the long-term salary prospects of someone who strikes out at Biglaw to start with are. Can someone in that position be expected to eventually regain enough financial standing to render themselves healthy?


First, LRAP is not IBR/PAYE. If you look at schools like NYU, Michigan, and Georgetown, those ~20% of the class getting PI positions are having large portions of their debt waved by the gov't without ever setting foot in a biglaw office. TLS conventional wisdom is too ignore these individuals, but they do exist.

"treading water" might apply to fed clerkships, where people go on to big paybacks afterwards, but in general you can use PAYE for 20 years and never default. It's not like you are going to be thrown out if you don't make a certain salary after a point. True, attorneys spend a long time paying off their debt when they don't do biglaw or LRAP, but taking the average debt at top schools (~$150K), you are not placed into true financial hardship with these payment options, although it would be disappointing if one suddenly expected to live the high life just because you passed the bar. The debate about whether sticker is manageable w/o biglaw or LRAP is another question, but its not faced by very many people (many pay sticker, but they have some form of parental/savings assistance so their debt load is not $270K).

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby NanaP » Tue May 28, 2013 12:51 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Others have mentioned LSAT cutoffs as a possible way to limit applicants. I endorse the notion, but the rationale can be even simpler: Treat the LSAT as you would treat a final exam. If you fail an exam, you don't get credit for the course. Similarly, if you "fail" the LSAT, you are not eligible to apply to law school until you can pass it. I don't know about you guys, but for me a passing grade has always be 60%. On an average LSAT, getting 60% of the questions right means about a 153. So that's where I'll set my cutoff--no one can apply to law school until acheiving at least a 153.

To classify as school as "in trouble", I defined it as a school whose 25th percentile LSAT was at or below 153. I came up with--bingo!--99 schools, which seemed to be about the right number to shut down.

But absent an LSAT cutoff, we can go state-by-state to preserve the number of "regional" lawyers we'll need. However, a school will not be protected from saddling students with a buttload of debt just to preserve its "regionality." Disclaimer: Just what I'd like to see, not what I'm advocating.

Criteria are as follows. A school gets to stay provided that it is in one of the following:

Group 1--USNWR T25: Self-explanatory
Group 2--Tier 1 costing less than $30k/year: Add Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, Florida, George Mason, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio State, Utah, William and Mary, and Wisconsin
Group 3--The best school in the state costing less than $20k/year: Add U. Arkansas, CUNY, U. District of Columbia, U. Hawaii, U. Idaho, U. Kansas, U. Kentucky, LSU, U. Mississippi, U. Missouri, U. Montana, U. Nebraska, U. New Mexico, U. North Dakota, U. Oklahoma, U. Puerto Rico, Southern Illinois, South Dakota, Temple, U. Tennessee, Texas Southern, U. West Virginia, and U. Wyoming

Others not methodologically included, but whom I would keep (could argue either way on these): Boston College, BU, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Colorado, UConn, Florida State, FIU, Georgia State, Louisville, U. Maine, UNLV, U. Oregon, Rutgers, U. South Carolina

That's a total of 78 schools. No school where a student doesn't have a decent shot at Biglaw has a COA over $150k. 46 states get schools, with the exception of AK (doesn't have one) and NH, RI, VT (currently all have one ridiculously overpriced TTT).

BTW, I'm only keeping Cooley if they start placing much more emphasis on the size of their library.



A state as big is PA cannot be serviced by just Temple. You would have to keep Pitt (it does well in the Pittsburgh region) and Penn State.....get rid of Drexel, Duquesne, Widener etc...Way too many law schools in PA

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untar614
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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby untar614 » Tue May 28, 2013 1:40 pm

Well for anyone who is bored and has nothing better to do, I made a list of what I think the schools that should stay open are. Outside of the top schools, I tried to focus on filling community needs - that is, public schools for a particular region. That's why I excluded Miami but left in FIU - the city of Miami doesn't warrant an expensive private law school, but a cheap public law school to serve the community does make sense. So a lot of the public schools listed are on the assumption that tuition be held low. Other than that, I tried to eliminate what I saw as unnecessary redundancy and just poor employment. There are probably problems with this based on my greater familiarity with certain areas than others. So add your input on this list if you feel like it. Also, the numbers are just to keep count, not my attempt at rankings.

1. Yale
2. Stanford
3. Harvard
4. Columbia
5. U Chicago
6. NYU
7. U Penn
8. UVA
9. UC Berkeley
10. U Michigan
11. Duke
12. Northwestern
13. Cornell
14. Georgetown
15. UT-Austin
16. Vanderbilt
17. UCLA
18. USC
19. UMN
20. WUSTL
21. GWU
22. Alabama
23. Emory
24. Notre Dame
25. IU-B or IU-I (do we need both?)
26. Iowa
27. U Washington
28. Arizona State
29. BC or BU (idk which is better, but do we need both?)
30. UNC
31. William and Mary
32. UGA
33. U Wisconsin – Madison
34. Ohio State
35. Fordham
36. UC Davis
37. U Maryland
38. U Utah
39. BYU
40. Colorado – Boulder
41. U Florida
42. U Illinois – UC
43. Florida State
44. SMU
45. Tulane
46. U Houston
47. Temple
48. U Connecticut
49. U Kentucky
50. U Nebraska – Lincoln
51. U Tennessee – Knoxville
52. Penn State
53. University of New Mexico
54. U Arkansas – Fayetteville
55. U Louisville
56. UNLV
57. U Oklahoma
58. LSU
59. U Missouri – Columbia
60. Michigan State
61. U Hawaii
62. Rutgers (merge ‘em)
63. SUNY Buffalo
64. U Kansas
65. U Pitt
66. WVU
67. U Oregon
68. U South Carolina
69. U Maine
70. CUNY – Queens
71. FIU
72. U Mississippi
73. U Idaho
74. U Maine
75. U Mass
76. U Montana
77. UNH
78. U North Dakota
79. U South Dakota
80. U Wyoming

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 28, 2013 1:42 pm

jbagelboy wrote: these range from 40-50% underemployed (not requiring a BA). These jobs are definitely under $45K. Vast majority are part time work ~$20K. A lot of these kids end up having to live with their parents since they can't afford CoL. Your forbes figure is for FULLY EMPLOYED graduates, not an average of ALL BA's. Lots of kids applying to law school are unemployed or underemployed non-STEM graduates. That's part of the appeal.


You're using a different definition of "underemployed" than I am--I'm defining it as "those who have non-full-time employment who are seeking it", whereas you are also including those with jobs not requiring a Bachelor's. Which is totally fine, because presumably the correlation between jobs not requiring a Bachelor's and jobs paying below-average salaries to Bachelor's holders is very high.

It must be noted that the Atlantic article you cited does suggest that those with a Bachelor's tend to receive higher wages than those without, even in the same nominal job title. Nonetheless, I'm not suggesting such a difference is large enough to cover the number of waiters and cab drivers with a Bachelor's.

And of course the percentage of STEM applicants is lower for law school, given that we're viewing this as an alternative possible for lots of student (e.g. "the bright kids who can't do math"). So if we postulate that the average earnings in their fields is $40k instead of $45k (60 percent of all Bachelor's recipients), and that the part-time or otherwise placing below their degree folks are making around $20k (30 percent), and the unemployed make nothing (10 percent), then we get an average of $30k. If that seems more accurate, then of course you could perform the same calculation again with such a number.


First, LRAP is not IBR/PAYE. If you look at schools like NYU, Michigan, and Georgetown, those ~20% of the class getting PI positions are having large portions of their debt waved by the gov't without ever setting foot in a biglaw office. TLS conventional wisdom is too ignore these individuals, but they do exist.

"treading water" might apply to fed clerkships, where people go on to big paybacks afterwards, but in general you can use PAYE for 20 years and never default. It's not like you are going to be thrown out if you don't make a certain salary after a point. True, attorneys spend a long time paying off their debt when they don't do biglaw or LRAP, but taking the average debt at top schools (~$150K), you are not placed into true financial hardship with these payment options, although it would be disappointing if one suddenly expected to live the high life just because you passed the bar. The debate about whether sticker is manageable w/o biglaw or LRAP is another question, but its not faced by very many people (many pay sticker, but they have some form of parental/savings assistance so their debt load is not $270K).


Certainly true that it's hard to find the PI perspective on such an issue, because the majority of TLS seems to view it as a brute financial consideration. Are people who go into PI with debt happy with their decision, even if they don't get to live the baller life? I assume so. I wouldn't know the mindset of someone making that decision; I'm gunning for Biglaw.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the PIs having their debt waved are still subject to the tax bomb unless it's fixed, no? Wouldn't that entail wage garnishment at some point, assuming your waved debt is large enough such that you can't cover the tax?

I guess this leads to the question of what assumptions we make after grads turned 40 (it seems like almost no TLS analysis ever goes past that). Sure, PAYE can keep your debt load manageable, but if you take the full 20 years, all of the sudden you're 45 with no home equity and no retirement savings. Even if you don't have to pay back every dollar you borrowed, is that an acceptable outcome for those who don't intend on ever setting foot in a firm office? I guess that's a question each individual has to answer.

FWIW, I still believe most applicants, even those with other decent options, should take sticker debt down to 20, which I'm pretty sure makes me less pessimistic than other TLSers.

NanaP wrote: A state as big is PA cannot be serviced by just Temple. You would have to keep Pitt (it does well in the Pittsburgh region) and Penn State.....get rid of Drexel, Duquesne, Widener etc...Way too many law schools in PA


Pitt you could probably keep. But I don't see how Penn State does any good for the students who pay sticker. $200k with absolutely no Biglaw?

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 28, 2013 2:07 pm

untar614 wrote:Well for anyone who is bored and has nothing better to do, I made a list of what I think the schools that should stay open are. Outside of the top schools, I tried to focus on filling community needs - that is, public schools for a particular region. That's why I excluded Miami but left in FIU - the city of Miami doesn't warrant an expensive private law school, but a cheap public law school to serve the community does make sense. So a lot of the public schools listed are on the assumption that tuition be held low. Other than that, I tried to eliminate what I saw as unnecessary redundancy and just poor employment. There are probably problems with this based on my greater familiarity with certain areas than others. So add your input on this list if you feel like it. Also, the numbers are just to keep count, not my attempt at rankings.

1. Yale
2. Stanford
3. Harvard
4. Columbia
5. U Chicago
6. NYU
7. U Penn
8. UVA
9. UC Berkeley
10. U Michigan
11. Duke
12. Northwestern
13. Cornell
14. Georgetown
15. UT-Austin
16. Vanderbilt
17. UCLA
18. USC
19. UMN
20. WUSTL
21. GWU
22. Alabama
23. Emory
24. Notre Dame
25. IU-B or IU-I (do we need both?)
26. Iowa
27. U Washington
28. Arizona State
29. BC or BU (idk which is better, but do we need both?)
30. UNC
31. William and Mary
32. UGA
33. U Wisconsin – Madison
34. Ohio State
35. Fordham
36. UC Davis
37. U Maryland
38. U Utah
39. BYU
40. Colorado – Boulder
41. U Florida
42. U Illinois – UC
43. Florida State
44. SMU
45. Tulane
46. U Houston
47. Temple
48. U Connecticut
49. U Kentucky
50. U Nebraska – Lincoln
51. U Tennessee – Knoxville
52. Penn State
53. University of New Mexico
54. U Arkansas – Fayetteville
55. U Louisville
56. UNLV
57. U Oklahoma
58. LSU
59. U Missouri – Columbia
60. Michigan State
61. U Hawaii
62. Rutgers (merge ‘em)
63. SUNY Buffalo
64. U Kansas
65. U Pitt
66. WVU
67. U Oregon
68. U South Carolina
69. U Maine
70. CUNY – Queens
71. FIU
72. U Mississippi
73. U Idaho
74. U Maine
75. U Mass
76. U Montana
77. UNH
78. U North Dakota
79. U South Dakota
80. U Wyoming


I get the desire for some geographic diversity among law schools. But I think schools like UC Davis, Fordham, SMU, Houston, Illinois, and UNH are so expensive for such terrible job prospects that applicants are almost certain to have to leave those regions just to pay back their debt, defeating the whole purpose of having a "regional" school. Would you advise a friend to take on sticker debt at any of them?

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untar614
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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby untar614 » Tue May 28, 2013 2:48 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
untar614 wrote:Well for anyone who is bored and has nothing better to do, I made a list of what I think the schools that should stay open are. Outside of the top schools, I tried to focus on filling community needs - that is, public schools for a particular region. That's why I excluded Miami but left in FIU - the city of Miami doesn't warrant an expensive private law school, but a cheap public law school to serve the community does make sense. So a lot of the public schools listed are on the assumption that tuition be held low. Other than that, I tried to eliminate what I saw as unnecessary redundancy and just poor employment. There are probably problems with this based on my greater familiarity with certain areas than others. So add your input on this list if you feel like it. Also, the numbers are just to keep count, not my attempt at rankings.

1. Yale
2. Stanford
3. Harvard
4. Columbia
5. U Chicago
6. NYU
7. U Penn
8. UVA
9. UC Berkeley
10. U Michigan
11. Duke
12. Northwestern
13. Cornell
14. Georgetown
15. UT-Austin
16. Vanderbilt
17. UCLA
18. USC
19. UMN
20. WUSTL
21. GWU
22. Alabama
23. Emory
24. Notre Dame
25. IU-B or IU-I (do we need both?)
26. Iowa
27. U Washington
28. Arizona State
29. BC or BU (idk which is better, but do we need both?)
30. UNC
31. William and Mary
32. UGA
33. U Wisconsin – Madison
34. Ohio State
35. Fordham
36. UC Davis
37. U Maryland
38. U Utah
39. BYU
40. Colorado – Boulder
41. U Florida
42. U Illinois – UC
43. Florida State
44. SMU
45. Tulane
46. U Houston
47. Temple
48. U Connecticut
49. U Kentucky
50. U Nebraska – Lincoln
51. U Tennessee – Knoxville
52. Penn State
53. University of New Mexico
54. U Arkansas – Fayetteville
55. U Louisville
56. UNLV
57. U Oklahoma
58. LSU
59. U Missouri – Columbia
60. Michigan State
61. U Hawaii
62. Rutgers (merge ‘em)
63. SUNY Buffalo
64. U Kansas
65. U Pitt
66. WVU
67. U Oregon
68. U South Carolina
69. U Maine
70. CUNY – Queens
71. FIU
72. U Mississippi
73. U Idaho
74. U Maine
75. U Mass
76. U Montana
77. UNH
78. U North Dakota
79. U South Dakota
80. U Wyoming


I get the desire for some geographic diversity among law schools. But I think schools like UC Davis, Fordham, SMU, Houston, Illinois, and UNH are so expensive for such terrible job prospects that applicants are almost certain to have to leave those regions just to pay back their debt, defeating the whole purpose of having a "regional" school. Would you advise a friend to take on sticker debt at any of them?


Yeah, I get you, and I wouldn't, but them what will those areas do, just be without lawyers? I agree, pretty much every school below #25 or so (these roughly follow the usnwr ranks) would need to cut class sizes and keep a low tuition since big law is pretty much out for them. But for people unlike myself who are ok with 5-figure income, these local schools would be good and important for having some legal presence in these areas. With SMU and Houston, I just feel Texas is too big - esp these cities - for just UT-Austin. Maybe leave TTech in there for all the rural populations?

But overall, would you all say that there are more additions that need to be made than subtractions? Because if not, this list of 80 is only about 40% of the current ABA-accredited law schools, so then even closing 50% wouldn't be quite enough.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby 20141023 » Tue May 28, 2013 3:04 pm

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Last edited by 20141023 on Sun Feb 15, 2015 11:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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untar614
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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby untar614 » Tue May 28, 2013 3:51 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:Simply put, the ABA needs to employ some sort of requirement in their standards for accreditation that looks at outcomes. The only work-related thing that the ABA currently requires is that schools simply report out their employment data; unfortunately, this data isn't actually used as any sort of metric for approving schools.

Using LST's list of schools as a reference, I think that the ABA should enforce stricter rules regarding accreditation for for-profit schools than private ones, and stricter rules for private schools than public ones. Right now, accreditation only considers whether schools are teaching sufficiently instead of providing sufficient outcomes... this needs to change. For example, Phoenix School of Law only placed 40% of its graduates into FTLT legal employment last year despite their annual tuition being $40,000. The worst part is the fact that - according to Phoenix Law - their median cumulative debt load was $150,000 and completely from federal loans.

Lastly, I hate the argument which claims that if there are no law schools in a region, then lawyers cannot practice there. Fuck that... If someone wants to be a lawyer and they live in the middle of nowhere, they should be responsible to go to a region with a decent legal education system instead of expecting a legal education to come to them.



I'm not saying they couldn't, but would any? If we do cut down the law school list similar to what I proposed, what are there options? Assuming the far northeast states need some nonzero number of lawyers there, do you think a lot will be heading there from out of the area? If not, then any who lives there and wants to work there would be forced to pay out-of-state tuition or private school tuition for small-town law. Not really too great a deal. So it really disincentivizes people from trying to work there.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 28, 2013 4:06 pm

untar614 wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
I get the desire for some geographic diversity among law schools. But I think schools like UC Davis, Fordham, SMU, Houston, Illinois, and UNH are so expensive for such terrible job prospects that applicants are almost certain to have to leave those regions just to pay back their debt, defeating the whole purpose of having a "regional" school. Would you advise a friend to take on sticker debt at any of them?


Yeah, I get you, and I wouldn't, but them what will those areas do, just be without lawyers? I agree, pretty much every school below #25 or so (these roughly follow the usnwr ranks) would need to cut class sizes and keep a low tuition since big law is pretty much out for them. But for people unlike myself who are ok with 5-figure income, these local schools would be good and important for having some legal presence in these areas. With SMU and Houston, I just feel Texas is too big - esp these cities - for just UT-Austin. Maybe leave TTech in there for all the rural populations?

But overall, would you all say that there are more additions that need to be made than subtractions? Because if not, this list of 80 is only about 40% of the current ABA-accredited law schools, so then even closing 50% wouldn't be quite enough.


The following states don't have a school under $25k/yr: AK, CA, CO, DE, IA, MD, MA, MI, MN, NH, OR, RI, VT, WA. I give a pass to Colorado, Iowa, Maryland and Washington for having Tier 1 schools that are fairly close, and I'd be willing to exempt Oregon because it's pretty close.

As far as the other states, one has to wonder if getting legal jobs is such a problem, why they wouldn't make a school in their state affordable or offer tax incentives for developing representation in their state. Normally, I'm always against using taxpayer funds to divert public resources to one specific area. But, well, this is already an industry with an extraordinarily high artificial barrier to entry. You can imagine how underserved a lot of areas would be if an MBA were required to open a business. If state governments are going to impose a very high cost on the ability to be able to practice, then a state that doesn't want to see a mass exodus should be subsidizing the heck out of those who might like to stay in-state. If California is going to complain that it can't find any lawyers who want to practice in the Central Valley, then perhaps it should create a school whose debt someone could actually pay back if they practiced there.

As far as how I would handle those regions if I ran the ABA, I'd say those regions would just be out of luck until their state governments made practicing there a decent investment, and that a school shouldn't be allowed to keep screwing its students just because no one else within 100 miles is screwing them. With a well-informed applicant base, these schools would be out of business fast. But for reasons I can't figure out, somehow every seat at these schools is filled every year.

Side note: Alaska, the only state without a law school, nonetheless ranks in the top half of states in lawyers per capita.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 28, 2013 4:09 pm

kappycaft1 wrote: Lastly, I hate the argument which claims that if there are no law schools in a region, then lawyers cannot practice there. Fuck that... If someone wants to be a lawyer and they live in the middle of nowhere, they should be responsible to go to a region with a decent legal education system instead of expecting a legal education to come to them.


I dunno, if I'm the state of Wyoming and I want lawyers to practice here but I ship them out to CA/NYC, I'm not sure I like their odds of coming back.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby untar614 » Tue May 28, 2013 4:13 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
untar614 wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
I get the desire for some geographic diversity among law schools. But I think schools like UC Davis, Fordham, SMU, Houston, Illinois, and UNH are so expensive for such terrible job prospects that applicants are almost certain to have to leave those regions just to pay back their debt, defeating the whole purpose of having a "regional" school. Would you advise a friend to take on sticker debt at any of them?


Yeah, I get you, and I wouldn't, but them what will those areas do, just be without lawyers? I agree, pretty much every school below #25 or so (these roughly follow the usnwr ranks) would need to cut class sizes and keep a low tuition since big law is pretty much out for them. But for people unlike myself who are ok with 5-figure income, these local schools would be good and important for having some legal presence in these areas. With SMU and Houston, I just feel Texas is too big - esp these cities - for just UT-Austin. Maybe leave TTech in there for all the rural populations?

But overall, would you all say that there are more additions that need to be made than subtractions? Because if not, this list of 80 is only about 40% of the current ABA-accredited law schools, so then even closing 50% wouldn't be quite enough.


The following states don't have a school under $25k/yr: AK, CA, CO, DE, IA, MD, MA, MI, MN, NH, OR, RI, VT, WA. I give a pass to Colorado, Iowa, Maryland and Washington for having Tier 1 schools that are fairly close, and I'd be willing to exempt Oregon because it's pretty close.

As far as the other states, one has to wonder if getting legal jobs is such a problem, why they wouldn't make a school in their state affordable or offer tax incentives for developing representation in their state. Normally, I'm always against using taxpayer funds to divert public resources to one specific area. But, well, this is already an industry with an extraordinarily high artificial barrier to entry. You can imagine how underserved a lot of areas would be if an MBA were required to open a business. If state governments are going to impose a very high cost on the ability to be able to practice, then a state that doesn't want to see a mass exodus should be subsidizing the heck out of those who might like to stay in-state. If California is going to complain that it can't find any lawyers who want to practice in the Central Valley, then perhaps it should create a school whose debt someone could actually pay back if they practiced there.

As far as how I would handle those regions if I ran the ABA, I'd say those regions would just be out of luck until their state governments made practicing there a decent investment, and that a school shouldn't be allowed to keep screwing its students just because no one else within 100 miles is screwing them. With a well-informed applicant base, these schools would be out of business fast. But for reasons I can't figure out, somehow every seat at these schools is filled every year.

Side note: Alaska, the only state without a law school, nonetheless ranks in the top half of states in lawyers per capita.

I agree, they should all be under 25k. Forcing grads to go on IBR/PAYE and never actually paying off the debt is still screwing over taxpayers, so really, having the states subsidize it is a preferable option. And I think the Alaska thing might be due to there being some pretty specif things related to there a la environmental stuff and oil, as well as subsidies to live and work there.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 28, 2013 4:29 pm

untar614 wrote:I agree, they should all be under 25k. Forcing grads to go on IBR/PAYE and never actually paying off the debt is still screwing over taxpayers, so really, having the states subsidize it is a preferable option. And I think the Alaska thing might be due to there being some pretty specif things related to there a la environmental stuff and oil, as well as subsidies to live and work there.


Yeah, but if I'm a state government who would have to pay the overwhelming majority of subsidies for a cheap law school, I couldn't care less about your unpaid IBR/PAYE balance because it gets counted as federal spending.

*sniff* Hey, does it smell like moral hazard in here?

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 8:14 pm

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 8:18 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:Simply put, the ABA needs to employ some sort of requirement in their standards for accreditation that looks at outcomes. The only work-related thing that the ABA currently requires is that schools simply report out their employment data; unfortunately, this data isn't actually used as any sort of metric for approving schools.

Using LST's list of schools as a reference, I think that the ABA should enforce stricter rules regarding accreditation for for-profit schools than private ones, and stricter rules for private schools than public ones. Right now, accreditation only considers whether schools are teaching sufficiently instead of providing sufficient outcomes... this needs to change. For example, Phoenix School of Law only placed 40% of its graduates into FTLT legal employment last year despite their annual tuition being $40,000. The worst part is the fact that - according to Phoenix Law - their median cumulative debt load was $150,000 and completely from federal loans.

Lastly, I hate the argument which claims that if there are no law schools in a region, then lawyers cannot practice there. Fuck that... If someone wants to be a lawyer and they live in the middle of nowhere, they should be responsible to go to a region with a decent legal education system instead of expecting a legal education to come to them.


So you are suggesting that unpopular regions of the country should hope like mad that someone has the presence of mind to move to their region? And if not enough lawyers do this the legal needs of the region be damned? That is not sensible.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 8:26 pm

I do agree that whether a school should close or be opened should relate most to employment numbers. But the simple fact is that regions need to be served, as well. Those more popular regions will have plenty of legal manpower to service their needs. Those not so popular will not. It is better to screw tens of thousands of law students who can't find a job than screw millions of the general public who didn't ask to encounter legal trouble best resolved by an attorney that is unavailable because there is a severe attorney shortage in that region.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 8:46 pm

It is true that, of the regional schools, fewer of those grads become lawyers, but a humongous percentage of a region's lawyers come from those regional schools. We have schools that may only produce lawyers with just 40% of their grads. But the grads of all those schools may provide 95% of the actual working attorneys that service that region. If you close those schools, you have a severe shortage in the region. True, the market will cause some lawyers in flooded regions to relocate to under served regions, but that may not erase the shortage, especially when many grads will think they are going to be the one who breaks through and gets a job in a fairly popular region. Then you have those that would just rather enter into another profession than practice in (insert undesirable state here). So those states needs will remain under served, screwing the general public who lives there.

It is a highly inefficient way of providing legal services to a region. But it the best way that we have. And if we are going to make a decision about what law schools to close, the general public's legal welfare should trump the needs of unemployed law grads every day of the week.
Last edited by utlaw2007 on Tue May 28, 2013 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby indo » Tue May 28, 2013 8:51 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
BerkeleyBear wrote:
ManOfTheMinute wrote:
Dr. Dre wrote:close UC Irvine


Close UC *Everything*

Side note: I'm impressed by the restraint TLS has shown by having the majority of people voting for 50%, not the T14 one or 75%... yay for us.

You'll fit in well at Stanford.


UCs were good options when their in-state tuition was an available, reasonable cost option for CA residents. At $47,000+, they are absurd. I dont think UCB and UCLA should close, they are good schools, but they need to cap instate tuition at $30K/year or less


+ 1

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby untar614 » Tue May 28, 2013 9:21 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:It is true that, of the regional schools, fewer of those grads become lawyers, but a humongous percentage of a region's lawyers come from those regional schools. We have schools that may only produce lawyers with just 40% of their grads. But the grads of all those schools may provide 95% of the actual working attorneys that service that region. If you close those schools, you have a severe shortage in the region. True, the market will cause some lawyers in flooded regions to relocate to under served regions, but that may not erase the shortage, especially when many grads will think they are going to be the one who breaks through and gets a job in a fairly popular region. Then you have those that would just rather enter into another profession than practice in (insert undesirable state here). So those states needs will remain under served, screwing the general public who lives there.

It is a highly inefficient way of providing legal services to a region. But it the best way that we have. And if we are going to make a decision about what law schools to close, the general public's legal welfare should trump the needs of unemployed law grads every day of the week.


But also, if nearby low-ranked private schools are closed, wouldn't the employment %s of the public school in the area go up, as those jobs are now going to the public school grad? For example, employers in Minnesota may hire from the top third of Hamline, William Mitchell and St .Thomas, but if those were gone, wouldn't they instead hire deeper into UMN, giving UMN better employment?

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 9:43 pm

untar614 wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:It is true that, of the regional schools, fewer of those grads become lawyers, but a humongous percentage of a region's lawyers come from those regional schools. We have schools that may only produce lawyers with just 40% of their grads. But the grads of all those schools may provide 95% of the actual working attorneys that service that region. If you close those schools, you have a severe shortage in the region. True, the market will cause some lawyers in flooded regions to relocate to under served regions, but that may not erase the shortage, especially when many grads will think they are going to be the one who breaks through and gets a job in a fairly popular region. Then you have those that would just rather enter into another profession than practice in (insert undesirable state here). So those states needs will remain under served, screwing the general public who lives there.

It is a highly inefficient way of providing legal services to a region. But it the best way that we have. And if we are going to make a decision about what law schools to close, the general public's legal welfare should trump the needs of unemployed law grads every day of the week.


But also, if nearby low-ranked private schools are closed, wouldn't the employment %s of the public school in the area go up, as those jobs are now going to the public school grad? For example, employers in Minnesota may hire from the top third of Hamline, William Mitchell and St .Thomas, but if those were gone, wouldn't they instead hire deeper into UMN, giving UMN better employment?


True, but those numbers may not be enough to adequately serve all those people/businesses in a given region. The employment numbers for schools would go up, but the numbers of lawyers who service the region go way down. If the private schools in Texas closed, there are not enough law grads from UT, Houston, Texas Tech, and TSU to serve all of Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas, and those are the metropolitan areas. You still have the smaller towns to worry about. They are exclusively filled with lawyers from regional schools. The problem is that you have poorer areas of law that have lawyers from these low ranking schools who serve these under served populations. And even still, they are not enough. Texas greatly tries to persuade us lawyers to do pro bono work. These are real problems. But nobody wants to enter into these areas of law because they pay ridiculously low and the work is not interesting. But these populations need to be served.

I am an owner of my own law firm. The businesses that I serve are severely under served, like waaay under served. The problem is that not enough lawyers think how these communities/industries can be served. So you have a few lawyers who are smart enough to take advantage of this and the rest don't even bother. Plus, the work that you have to do is very demanding and many lawyers don't want to do it or they can't do it if they tried. The real answer is that law schools need to do a better job of actually training grads how to be lawyers. The problem is that so many graduates come out of law school not having a clue how to do something to serve the public. Biglaw trains it's associates. Smaller law firms don't do that. So they aren't looking to hire a green grad because that grad cannot offset the work load. He/she would require too much supervision. So then it is no point in hiring that grad in the first place.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 28, 2013 9:47 pm

utlaw2007 wrote: So you are suggesting that unpopular regions of the country should hope like mad that someone has the presence of mind to move to their region? And if not enough lawyers do this the legal needs of the region be damned? That is not sensible.


The "needs" of any region don't dictate employment patterns. That's not how a free labor market works. Rather, the desire of the labor supply to work in an area does, be that driven from home ties, or field, or money. The residents of Podunk only have the right to legal representation in particular constitutionally-protected criminal instances, and the standard for "adequate legal representation" does not preclude those residents from getting someone dumber than a rock because he/she was dumb enough to go into $200k debt at a TTT and pass the bar in a state with laughable standards.

It's perfectly fine if someone does want to go into an underserved community, but you can't demonize graduates for wanting to go somewhere where they'll actually get paid enough to cover their monthly payments. And if some small town is expecting to bring in some guy who paid three years opportunity cost wages and six figures of debt, pay him worse than peanuts, and then actually expect him to be anything more than a drooling moron, I would say that most of the time their expectations are unrealistic.

But unlike the Podunk residents, the ABA could actually do something by revoking the accreditation of schools who are leaving the majority of their graduates unable to find jobs with which they could cover their debt (ABA is, after all, tasked with the duty of determining what the profession's barriers to entry are, and it would be nice if it started determining standards as well), or at the very least it could start revoking the accreditation of schools that willfully and knowingly manipulated, or made up, employment statistics. This doesn't protect the ignorant from themselves, but at least no one would be making a horrible decision because a school lied to them.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 9:49 pm

I am in Houston. But just because Port Authur, Texas is just an hour away, right next to Houston, doesn't mean that I am prepared to set up shop there, especially if I did well enough to actually gain admittance into a competitive school. And closing down regional schools will make the schools that are left open, very competitive. If I had to move to the Rio Grande Valley or Beaumont, Texas to practice law, I would surely choose another profession. It's Port Authur, not Houston. They are only an hour apart, but they are worlds apart other wise.

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Re: What percent of law schools should close?

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue May 28, 2013 9:54 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote: So you are suggesting that unpopular regions of the country should hope like mad that someone has the presence of mind to move to their region? And if not enough lawyers do this the legal needs of the region be damned? That is not sensible.


The "needs" of any region don't dictate employment patterns. That's not how a free labor market works. Rather, the desire of the labor supply to work in an area does, be that driven from home ties, or field, or money. The residents of Podunk only have the right to legal representation in particular constitutionally-protected criminal instances, and the standard for "adequate legal representation" does not preclude those residents from getting someone dumber than a rock because he/she was dumb enough to go into $200k debt at a TTT and pass the bar in a state with laughable standards.

It's perfectly fine if someone does want to go into an underserved community, but you can't demonize graduates for wanting to go somewhere where they'll actually get paid enough to cover their monthly payments. And if some small town is expecting to bring in some guy who paid three years opportunity cost wages and six figures of debt, pay him worse than peanuts, and then actually expect him to be anything more than a drooling moron, I would say that most of the time their expectations are unrealistic.

But unlike the Podunk residents, the ABA could actually do something by revoking the accreditation of schools who are leaving the majority of their graduates unable to find jobs with which they could cover their debt (ABA is, after all, tasked with the duty of determining what the profession's barriers to entry are, and it would be nice if it started determining standards as well), or at the very least it could start revoking the accreditation of schools that willfully and knowingly manipulated, or made up, employment statistics. This doesn't protect the ignorant from themselves, but at least no one would be making a horrible decision because a school lied to them.


This is wrong. You are saying that demand does not dictate employment patterns? Are you kidding? I own a law firm. I do business based on those principles. And I can tell that in Houston, Texas, if you practice an area of law that is not in need at the small firm level, you won't get any business. If you do get business, your services will be seen as a luxury item that can be done without. If your client has an infinite supply of money, they can afford luxury services. If they do not, they can't and will only pay for something if they just have to. At the small firm level, you don't have clients with an infinite supply of money.

I like how this forum dismisses the advice and insight of people who actually have experience with this stuff in their given region on the basis of theoretical stuff that they think sounds good.




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