Baltimore Sun article: Law School Letdown

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Baltimore Sun article: Law School Letdown

Postby LSAT Blog » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:07 pm

From the article:

Brian Tamanaha, author of "Failing Law Schools," a forthcoming book, evaluates law school's worth with a simple formula: "It's a function of how much debt you think you'll have and your chances of landing a job that will allow you to pay that debt."

UMd Law's full-time, in-state tuition is $23,744; UB Law's is $26,156. According to Tamanaha's findings, 76 percent of UMd Law's class of 2010 is in debt, with the average debt amounting to $109,000. The average debt of a UB Law student is $105,000, he calculated, and 89 percent of the class reported being in debt...

Supply and demand creates another wrinkle in the employment search. According to Tamanaha, 45,000 new law graduates hit the market each year nationwide; however, recruiters project only 25,000 job openings each year through 2018.

When considering law school, "the key is your expected debt," said Tamanaha. After much number-crunching, he strongly cautions students who expect to owe the average debt. "You better really want to be a lawyer, or you shouldn't be in law school at all," he said.


Tamanaha's upcoming book: http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Schools-C ... 226923614/

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NR3C1
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Re: Baltimore Sun article: Law School Letdown

Postby NR3C1 » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:16 pm

Excellent posting, LSATBlog!

So, about 56% (25/45) of new graduates will be able to get JD-requiring jobs; the rest (about 44%), oh well...

darkatillam2
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Re: Baltimore Sun article: Law School Letdown

Postby darkatillam2 » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:23 pm

There won't be 45,000 grads in 3 years. Law school applicants are their lowest in 20 years (so says the Dean of a T2 I spoke too - however, I'd like to see some hard data on actual applicants because I know there has been huge drops in LSAT takers, but have yet to find out the total number of ABA applicants going to school this year).

Supply will balance out demand at some point. In the mean time, get into a school that's in the top 50% of total schools then? :P

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RedBirds2011
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Re: Baltimore Sun article: Law School Letdown

Postby RedBirds2011 » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:02 pm

darkatillam2 wrote:There won't be 45,000 grads in 3 years. Law school applicants are their lowest in 20 years (so says the Dean of a T2 I spoke too - however, I'd like to see some hard data on actual applicants because I know there has been huge drops in LSAT takers, but have yet to find out the total number of ABA applicants going to school this year).

Supply will balance out demand at some point. In the mean time, get into a school that's in the top 50% of total schools then? :P


On just get into a top 50% of total schools: This assumes someone last in class at a top 50% school will get a job over someone top 10 percent in class at lower ranked school. It doesnt quite work that way.
Last edited by RedBirds2011 on Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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moonman157
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Re: Baltimore Sun article: Law School Letdown

Postby moonman157 » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:09 pm

darkatillam2 wrote:There won't be 45,000 grads in 3 years. Law school applicants are their lowest in 20 years (so says the Dean of a T2 I spoke too - however, I'd like to see some hard data on actual applicants because I know there has been huge drops in LSAT takers, but have yet to find out the total number of ABA applicants going to school this year).

Supply will balance out demand at some point. In the mean time, get into a school that's in the top 50% of total schools then? :P


It is also about debt. You may get a job that requires a j.d. but if it is paying 40K and you have 100K in debt, you're in trouble.

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Gail
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Re: Baltimore Sun article: Law School Letdown

Postby Gail » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:10 pm

darkatillam2 wrote:There won't be 45,000 grads in 3 years. Law school applicants are their lowest in 20 years (so says the Dean of a T2 I spoke too - however, I'd like to see some hard data on actual applicants because I know there has been huge drops in LSAT takers, but have yet to find out the total number of ABA applicants going to school this year).

Supply will balance out demand at some point. In the mean time, get into a school that's in the top 50% of total schools then? :P


Law schools have no shortage of applicants. The same number will graduate, even if the same number does not apply to law school.


There might be more than 45,000 grads in 3 years.

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romothesavior
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Re: Baltimore Sun article: Law School Letdown

Postby romothesavior » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:20 pm

Tamanaha is the man. Can't wait for his book to come out. It probably won't be news to anyone who actually reads TLS on the reg, but it will definitely be the most comprehensive and well-researched piece on the current issues surrounding law school, debt, job placement, etc. It is one thing when the pissed off doc review guys over on JD Underground and Third Tier Reality are bitching about it. It's another thing when a well-known and well-respected academic says, "Hey guys... this system is really f'd up."

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romothesavior
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Re: Baltimore Sun article: Law School Letdown

Postby romothesavior » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:28 pm

Gail wrote:
darkatillam2 wrote:There won't be 45,000 grads in 3 years. Law school applicants are their lowest in 20 years (so says the Dean of a T2 I spoke too - however, I'd like to see some hard data on actual applicants because I know there has been huge drops in LSAT takers, but have yet to find out the total number of ABA applicants going to school this year).

Supply will balance out demand at some point. In the mean time, get into a school that's in the top 50% of total schools then? :P


Law schools have no shortage of applicants. The same number will graduate, even if the same number does not apply to law school.


There might be more than 45,000 grads in 3 years.

Not necessarily. Some of the very bottom tier schools are scrambling because they might not have the applicants to fill their classes in a year or two. Some of them are getting to the point where they have to admit almost everyone who applies. What happens when even that isn't enough to maintain their class sizes? Tamanaha has actually predicted that some schools might start seeing financial hardship soon, and some may even close. Law schools exist to make money, either for themselves or for the university. The universities aren't going to subsidize them because they add almost zero value outside of the financial benefits.

Also, almost every school across the board is shrinking class sizes. I would be surprised if there are 45k students in law school next year. Could be closer to 40k.

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Gail
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Re: Baltimore Sun article: Law School Letdown

Postby Gail » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:35 pm

That's certainly possible. I just keep reading about new schools opening up like UMass law and think that there will still be people at the 140-150 range who will think every law school is a good idea at sticker because every lawyer is rich, rich, rich. They also seem to be the slowest ones to get the message about law school. I say that because of the larger drops in people with high scores than low scores.

I hope I'm wrong.

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abbottsbar
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Re: Baltimore Sun article: Law School Letdown

Postby abbottsbar » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:40 pm

romothesavior wrote:
Gail wrote:
darkatillam2 wrote:There won't be 45,000 grads in 3 years. Law school applicants are their lowest in 20 years (so says the Dean of a T2 I spoke too - however, I'd like to see some hard data on actual applicants because I know there has been huge drops in LSAT takers, but have yet to find out the total number of ABA applicants going to school this year).

Supply will balance out demand at some point. In the mean time, get into a school that's in the top 50% of total schools then? :P


Law schools have no shortage of applicants. The same number will graduate, even if the same number does not apply to law school.


There might be more than 45,000 grads in 3 years.

Not necessarily. Some of the very bottom tier schools are scrambling because they might not have the applicants to fill their classes in a year or two. Some of them are getting to the point where they have to admit almost everyone who applies. What happens when even that isn't enough to maintain their class sizes? Tamanaha has actually predicted that some schools might start seeing financial hardship soon, and some may even close. Law schools exist to make money, either for themselves or for the university. The universities aren't going to subsidize them because they add almost zero value outside of the financial benefits.

Also, almost every school across the board is shrinking class sizes. I would be surprised if there are 45k students in law school next year. Could be closer to 40k.


I certainly hope you're right about the numbers, and I definitely see a much-needed decline in law school students. It appears from the data that's been released by LSAC that the T4s will still have plenty of applicants, as the steepest declines in applications have been with the higher scoring LSAT takers. I am by no means an expert, but I can only foresee this going one of two ways: 1. Higher ranked schools severely trim their class size to keep their medians (thus probably resulting in higher tuition to prevent layoffs/cutbacks in services) or 2. Your scenario plays out and the higher ranked schools begin accepting lower and lower numbers thus eating into the potential applicant pool for bottom-feeding schools.

I think as long as student loans are being passed out like candy at a fat kid birthday party tuition is only going to continue to rise exponentially.

Caveat: I have done ZERO research into this specifically, I'm pretty much going on a faulty assumption that law schools (which are a completely unique entity) are going to cow-tow to market forces.




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