Is Law School a Losing Game?

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JazzOne
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby JazzOne » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:33 am

rman1201 wrote:
lackadaisy wrote:Obviously there's evidence elsewhere on this forum for that claim, so I won't go into it more -- but in a nutshell, the article is missing a major point, which is that law school may be a bad deal not only for people who can't get into good schools, but also for those who can, but could also have done as well elsewhere (taking debt & three years time into consideration).


Or maybe the problem is too many people attending law school for purely financial expectations and not because they actually like law. If you can get into HYS and aren't sure because you might be able to make more elsewhere you shouldn't be a lawyer.

Right, but the cost of attendance has gotten so ridiculous that you can't go into law, no matter how much you love the profession, without considering the financial ramifications. As we have seen, it can completely screw your life if you guess wrongly.
Last edited by JazzOne on Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

rundoxierun
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby rundoxierun » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:39 am

rman1201 wrote:
lackadaisy wrote:Obviously there's evidence elsewhere on this forum for that claim, so I won't go into it more -- but in a nutshell, the article is missing a major point, which is that law school may be a bad deal not only for people who can't get into good schools, but also for those who can, but could also have done as well elsewhere (taking debt & three years time into consideration).


Or maybe the problem is too many people attending law school for purely financial expectations and not because they actually like law. If you can get into HYS and aren't sure because you might be able to make more elsewhere you shouldn't be a lawyer.


People love to make this point. And it would be perfectly valid if not for the fact that going to top schools often also involves 200k in debt and the risk that comes along with it. If you think "I want to be a lawyer at any cost" then you are just being silly. Just because you arent comfortable with 200k debt and little way of paying it back doesnt mean you are in this purely for financial gain. Despite what people like to think, for most people it isnt 100% want to be a lawyer or 100% want to make a lot of money. It is a combination of factors. It isnt unreasonable for someone to want to be a lawyer at 50k of debt but not at 200k of debt given a particular set of job prospects and earning potential. You may have a set of job options and like them all to particular point.. maybe you like law, banking and some third option. You might like law more than banking and banking more than the third option. But maybe the investment necessary for the third option is 25% of that necessary for law. Its not being greedy to take the third option.

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rman1201
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby rman1201 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:43 am

tkgrrett wrote:
rman1201 wrote:
lackadaisy wrote:Obviously there's evidence elsewhere on this forum for that claim, so I won't go into it more -- but in a nutshell, the article is missing a major point, which is that law school may be a bad deal not only for people who can't get into good schools, but also for those who can, but could also have done as well elsewhere (taking debt & three years time into consideration).


Or maybe the problem is too many people attending law school for purely financial expectations and not because they actually like law. If you can get into HYS and aren't sure because you might be able to make more elsewhere you shouldn't be a lawyer.


People love to make this point. And it would be perfectly valid if not for the fact that going to top schools often also involves 200k in debt and the risk that comes along with it. If you think "I want to be a lawyer at any cost" then you are just being silly. Just because you arent comfortable with 200k debt and little way of paying it back doesnt mean you are in this purely for financial gain. Despite what people like to think, for most people it isnt 100% want to be a lawyer or 100% want to make a lot of money. It is a combination of factors. It isnt unreasonable for someone to want to be a lawyer at 50k of debt but not at 200k of debt given a particular set of job prospects and earning potential. You may have a set of job options and like them all to particular point.. maybe you like law, banking and some third option. You might like law more than banking and banking more than the third option. But maybe the investment necessary for the third option is 25% of that necessary for law. Its not being greedy to take the third option.


The point is, if you can go to HYS you still aren't going to be hard-pressed and buried in inescapable debt. The statement was framed around an analysis of which career path can earn more money, not which would lead to ruin.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby worldtraveler » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:31 am

I'm most disgusted by the "I thought someone would hook me up with a job" mentality in the article. No, people don't just walk around and hand you jobs in any field. You actually have to apply and prove yourself. I see this even at my own law school with people who bitch that OCS didn't just hook them up with a summer job. There is a huge sense of entitlement among law students and maybe even our generation as a whole, and it scares me. No one owes you anything, no matter how fancy your degree is.

lackadaisy
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby lackadaisy » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:32 am

rman1201 wrote:The point is, if you can go to HYS you still aren't going to be hard-pressed and buried in inescapable debt. The statement was framed around an analysis of which career path can earn more money, not which would lead to ruin.


That's a fair argument, but ~$220k (tuition & living expenses) in debt or lost savings is no joke to repay on $60k/year salary either, especially after taxes & late-20s living expenses (mortgage, kids, etc). My point is basically that law school can -still- be a bad deal even if you get steady work as a lawyer -- so the shit deal of going to law school exists to an even greater extent than the article mentions.

Obviously, we'd hope people want to be lawyers for more than money. But the end of the day, people who are considering law school could otherwise be considering (for example) public policy/administration, nonprofit administration, or private-sector management -- careers that are as (or as likely to be) fulfilling. So the financial gains have to be important: I could do A that I may love, unknown B (law) that I may love, but will B saddle me with the equivalent of a second mortgage with no salary gains to pay it off, and be no more likely to make me happy?

(Speaking for myself, if A is i-banking, I might still choose law, but if it is public sector consulting -- which for me it is -- I'm closer to indifferent. And so higher salary to pay off debt and compensate for lost income matters.)
Last edited by lackadaisy on Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:44 am, edited 2 times in total.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby DoubleChecks » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:32 am

worldtraveler wrote:I'm most disgusted by the "I thought someone would hook me up with a job" mentality in the article. No, people don't just walk around and hand you jobs in any field. You actually have to apply and prove yourself. I see this even at my own law school with people who bitch that OCS didn't just hook them up with a summer job. There is a huge sense of entitlement among law students and maybe even our generation as a whole, and it scares me. No one owes you anything, no matter how fancy your degree is.

+1

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kk19131
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby kk19131 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:37 am

It's criminal that Harvard has a $1.7 billion endowment (larger than many whole university systems) and somehow manages to leave its graduates with an average of $113,000 of debt.

imbored25
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby imbored25 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:08 am

its ok guys, the republicans are gonna repeal the health care bill and that'll create lots of jobs for everyone!!!

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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby porgie » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:27 am

I have a full scholly at a T20 and will probably have about $40K in debt after I'm done w/ law school from cost of living loans, and I'm scared shitless about it. I'm extremely risk/debt averse, and I sometimes wish I hadn't even attended law school, even w/ the scholly. How the hell do you take out $200K in loans and not once stop and think, "what will it take to repay this? How much per month will my loan payment be, and what salary do I need to be earning in order to pay it? will obtaining this degree open up career opportunities that will allow me to meet that necessary salary?"

The Wallerstein guy came across as an epic douche who made a horrible decision just to impress some people who are stupid enough to be impressed by a thomas jefferson law degree. The fact that he almost tried to purchase a home as investment property or some other such bullshit just confirms how douchey the guy really is.

As far as the misleading info, I admit that I didn't know the extent that schools go to in order to boost their numbers. GULC temporarily hires unemployed grads in order to boost their employment rate up? horrible, and I would never have thought that they would stoop to that.

motiontodismiss
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby motiontodismiss » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:16 am

NoJob wrote:
ResolutePear wrote:So guys, let me get this straight:

You guys want a 100% employment rate when the nation's hovering over a 10% unemployment average?


The rate for people with bachelor's and higher is much lower, i.e. 4-5%. Law school grads are a clear aberration from that stat.


That. 3.5ish at Stern gets you an offer at McKinsey NY and callbacks at BCG. Law school grads' employment rates are just, um, sad.

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Drake014
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby Drake014 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:31 am

I'd like to point out the most important point that everyone should take away from this article:

If you allow anyone to borrow lots of money, lots of stupid people will do so. It doesn't matter what its for, maybe its a house, car, or degree. The point is, allowing the vast majority of the population to borrow huge amounts of money will result in lots of people being in serious debt.

Unfortunately, proving that law school students aren't the best policy makers, people on these message boards constantly bitch about how we should limit the number of law schools. Returning to the age of guilds is not the solution to this problem. The simple solution is to stop allowing anyone to borrow huge amounts of money for advanced degrees. Allow students to discharge debts through bankruptcy. Don't have the government guarantee 100% of loans (maybe having the government guarantee a fractions might be a better idea). If lenders have to face consequences for making bad loans, they'll stop lending money to idiots. Right now we've completely destroyed capitalistic mechanisms from the student loan process. Lenders can make bad loans and borrowers can borrow themselves stupid.

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Drake014
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby Drake014 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:44 am

plum wrote:i was surprised to see a CLS student interviewed as one of the struggling. overall the article was mad depressing.


"Jason Bohn is earning $33 an hour as a legal temp while strapped to more than $200,000 in loans, a sizable chunk of which he accumulated during his time at Columbia University, where he finished both a J.D. and a master’s degree.

“I grew up a ward of the state of New York, so I don’t have any parents to call for help,” Mr. Bohn says. “For my sanity, I have to think there is an end in sight.” "

The guy grew up as a ward of the state... wow. That's a great story to get into law school with. Apparently it doesn't help you get a job. You'll notice that he's strill trying. I hope he makes it. It sounds like his life has sucked ass and its shitty this has happened to him.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ScottRiqui » Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:31 am

lackadaisy wrote:[
I'm disappointed that they didn't talk about more of the HYS graduates who realized their earning potential would be lower in small firm jobs (paying 40k-60k) than if they'd stuck with the jobs they could have gotten with their BA credentials.

<trim>

Obviously there's evidence elsewhere on this forum for that claim, so I won't go into it more -- but in a nutshell, the article is missing a major point, which is that law school may be a bad deal not only for people who can't get into good schools, but also for those who can, but could also have done as well elsewhere (taking debt & three years time into consideration).


That's the situation I suspect I'm in. When I retire in a few years, I'll be able to walk into a federal government job fairly easily with my degrees at the ~80k range which, combined with my military pension, would keep my income about where it is now. But any future salary increases would likely be incremental - certainly no big jumps comparable to making partner at a law firm or anything like that.

I could get a JD without incurring any debt (although I'd be looking at almost $250k in lost income over three years), but it's the strong bimodal nature of the law salaries that has me nervous. Basically, 160k/year would be a "big win", but 50k/year would be a "big lose", and there doesn't seem to be a lot in-between the two extremes.

So in short, I guess I'd have to go the "biglaw or bust" route, not because I want "models and bottles" or to drive a Bentley, but because the skewed nature of law salaries means that biglaw is just about the only way that law becomes a better financial option than the ones I already have.

masterthearts
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby masterthearts » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:19 am

I googled Jason Bohn (Columbia grad). I am under the impression that his columbia degree is undergrad. He was to enter Univ. of Florida Law..if it's the same jason bohn

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AreJay711
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby AreJay711 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:21 am

porgie wrote:I have a full scholly at a T20 and will probably have about $40K in debt after I'm done w/ law school from cost of living loans, and I'm scared shitless about it. I'm extremely risk/debt averse, and I sometimes wish I hadn't even attended law school, even w/ the scholly. How the hell do you take out $200K in loans and not once stop and think, "what will it take to repay this? How much per month will my loan payment be, and what salary do I need to be earning in order to pay it? will obtaining this degree open up career opportunities that will allow me to meet that necessary salary?"

The Wallerstein guy came across as an epic douche who made a horrible decision just to impress some people who are stupid enough to be impressed by a thomas jefferson law degree. The fact that he almost tried to purchase a home as investment property or some other such bullshit just confirms how douchey the guy really is.

As far as the misleading info, I admit that I didn't know the extent that schools go to in order to boost their numbers. GULC temporarily hires unemployed grads in order to boost their employment rate up? horrible, and I would never have thought that they would stoop to that.


Eh I don't think being worried about 40K in debt is reasonable. Basically it is like you bought a car. Find a job that pays enough for you to buy a car and you will be ok.

albanach
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby albanach » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:43 am

NoJob wrote:

True, but, limiting the discussion to biglaw, I can think of older people from my class who were on law review and who had good grades who lost out on biglaw from a T20.


And you can't think of any younger people in the same boat?

rundoxierun
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby rundoxierun » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:50 am

masterthearts wrote:I googled Jason Bohn (Columbia grad). I am under the impression that his columbia degree is undergrad. He was to enter Univ. of Florida Law..if it's the same jason bohn


Pretty sure this is the guy:
--LinkRemoved--

rundoxierun
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby rundoxierun » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:58 am

Drake014 wrote:I'd like to point out the most important point that everyone should take away from this article:

If you allow anyone to borrow lots of money, lots of stupid people will do so. It doesn't matter what its for, maybe its a house, car, or degree. The point is, allowing the vast majority of the population to borrow huge amounts of money will result in lots of people being in serious debt.

Unfortunately, proving that law school students aren't the best policy makers, people on these message boards constantly bitch about how we should limit the number of law schools. Returning to the age of guilds is not the solution to this problem. The simple solution is to stop allowing anyone to borrow huge amounts of money for advanced degrees. Allow students to discharge debts through bankruptcy. Don't have the government guarantee 100% of loans (maybe having the government guarantee a fractions might be a better idea). If lenders have to face consequences for making bad loans, they'll stop lending money to idiots. Right now we've completely destroyed capitalistic mechanisms from the student loan process. Lenders can make bad loans and borrowers can borrow themselves stupid.


Umm the problem is that we dont want capitalistic mechanisms for the student loan process. That would essentially limit the access of people from underprivileged backgrounds no matter what their potential. I said this before, but I believe any effort to limit federal funding should be done by limiting the access of underperforming schools based on a developed standard. We should most definitely NOT leave the whole thing up to private lenders.

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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby emhellmer » Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:00 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:I'm most disgusted by the "I thought someone would hook me up with a job" mentality in the article. No, people don't just walk around and hand you jobs in any field. You actually have to apply and prove yourself. I see this even at my own law school with people who bitch that OCS didn't just hook them up with a summer job. There is a huge sense of entitlement among law students and maybe even our generation as a whole, and it scares me. No one owes you anything, no matter how fancy your degree is.

+1


+2

If you couldn't use your BA to rustle up some kind of decent employment, expecting a JD to make a huge difference may be a stretch. Actually, this idea that a school office will find me a job is all very new to me.

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MTal
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby MTal » Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:01 pm

If you are still considering going to law school and paying for anything below a T6, you are a complete idiot.

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gwuorbust
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby gwuorbust » Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:02 pm

albanach wrote:
NoJob wrote:

True, but, limiting the discussion to biglaw, I can think of older people from my class who were on law review and who had good grades who lost out on biglaw from a T20.


And you can't think of any younger people in the same boat?


fuck the biglaw boat.

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MTal
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby MTal » Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:04 pm

worldtraveler wrote:I'm most disgusted by the "I thought someone would hook me up with a job" mentality in the article. No, people don't just walk around and hand you jobs in any field. You actually have to apply and prove yourself. I see this even at my own law school with people who bitch that OCS didn't just hook them up with a summer job. There is a huge sense of entitlement among law students and maybe even our generation as a whole, and it scares me. No one owes you anything, no matter how fancy your degree is.


I've got a set of statistics for you.

1. 50k JD's graduate every year.
2. 24k legal job openings every year.

You can't fit a square peg into a round hole!!!

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emhellmer
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby emhellmer » Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:04 pm

Drake014 wrote:I'd like to point out the most important point that everyone should take away from this article:

If you allow anyone to borrow lots of money, lots of stupid people will do so. It doesn't matter what its for, maybe its a house, car, or degree. The point is, allowing the vast majority of the population to borrow huge amounts of money will result in lots of people being in serious debt.

Unfortunately, proving that law school students aren't the best policy makers, people on these message boards constantly bitch about how we should limit the number of law schools. Returning to the age of guilds is not the solution to this problem. The simple solution is to stop allowing anyone to borrow huge amounts of money for advanced degrees. Allow students to discharge debts through bankruptcy. Don't have the government guarantee 100% of loans (maybe having the government guarantee a fractions might be a better idea). If lenders have to face consequences for making bad loans, they'll stop lending money to idiots. Right now we've completely destroyed capitalistic mechanisms from the student loan process. Lenders can make bad loans and borrowers can borrow themselves stupid.


LOL! I was reading through the comments on a lawyer's blog the other day, and someone said something like "No amount of prestige is going to negate the laws of supply and demand. The only way to bring supply and demand back into alignment is to close 100 law schools." I thought: my god, this person is a lawyer! Yikes!

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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby bgdddymtty » Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:21 pm

Drake014 wrote:I'd like to point out the most important point that everyone should take away from this article:

If you allow anyone to borrow lots of money, lots of stupid people will do so. It doesn't matter what its for, maybe its a house, car, or degree. The point is, allowing the vast majority of the population to borrow huge amounts of money will result in lots of people being in serious debt.

Unfortunately, proving that law school students aren't the best policy makers, people on these message boards constantly bitch about how we should limit the number of law schools. Returning to the age of guilds is not the solution to this problem. The simple solution is to stop allowing anyone to borrow huge amounts of money for advanced degrees. Allow students to discharge debts through bankruptcy. Don't have the government guarantee 100% of loans (maybe having the government guarantee a fractions might be a better idea). If lenders have to face consequences for making bad loans, they'll stop lending money to idiots. Right now we've completely destroyed capitalistic mechanisms from the student loan process. Lenders can make bad loans and borrowers can borrow themselves stupid.
This is absolutely credited. To piggyback just a little, with the constant drumbeat we hear about how great the federal financial aid program is because it "makes college affordable" for so many people, we rarely hear about the outrageous, economically perverse effect student loan guarantees have had on tuition prices.

Here is a graph of the arc of law school tuition at UVa since the 1990-91 school year. Pay special attention to the out-of-state tuition figure, as it should at least theoretically reflect the true cost of educating students. With the additional $3,700 increase for this year, that's a 371% jump in tuition over the past 20 years. There's no way that happens in a free market where people have to (gasp!) really qualify for loans or (double gasp!) pay their way through school with savings, part-time work, etc.

Unfortunately, those currently in charge in Washington have decided to double down by completely taking lending institutions out of the loop. But I digress.

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AreJay711
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby AreJay711 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:31 pm

bgdddymtty wrote:
Drake014 wrote:I'd like to point out the most important point that everyone should take away from this article:

If you allow anyone to borrow lots of money, lots of stupid people will do so. It doesn't matter what its for, maybe its a house, car, or degree. The point is, allowing the vast majority of the population to borrow huge amounts of money will result in lots of people being in serious debt.

Unfortunately, proving that law school students aren't the best policy makers, people on these message boards constantly bitch about how we should limit the number of law schools. Returning to the age of guilds is not the solution to this problem. The simple solution is to stop allowing anyone to borrow huge amounts of money for advanced degrees. Allow students to discharge debts through bankruptcy. Don't have the government guarantee 100% of loans (maybe having the government guarantee a fractions might be a better idea). If lenders have to face consequences for making bad loans, they'll stop lending money to idiots. Right now we've completely destroyed capitalistic mechanisms from the student loan process. Lenders can make bad loans and borrowers can borrow themselves stupid.
This is absolutely credited. To piggyback just a little, with the constant drumbeat we hear about how great the federal financial aid program is because it "makes college affordable" for so many people, we rarely hear about the outrageous, economically perverse effect student loan guarantees have had on tuition prices.

Here is a graph of the arc of law school tuition at UVa since the 1990-91 school year. Pay special attention to the out-of-state tuition figure, as it should at least theoretically reflect the true cost of educating students. With the additional $3,700 increase for this year, that's a 371% jump in tuition over the past 20 years. There's no way that happens in a free market where people have to (gasp!) really qualify for loans or (double gasp!) pay their way through school with savings, part-time work, etc.

Unfortunately, those currently in charge in Washington have decided to double down by completely taking lending institutions out of the loop. But I digress.

This is a very good point -- a more extreme example of the housing bubble. The problem is that it has gotten to the point where it is almost impossible to finance a legal education like that anymore.




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