LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

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NYstate
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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby NYstate » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:27 am

cotiger wrote:
Skump wrote:What's frightening is that this is still far too many applicants. We've seen multiple year on year declines, and we're still in a bubble.


I don't think that's correct.

Assuming that C/O 2016 has a normal attrition rate, they should graduate around 35,300 students, lowest since 1983. If this cycle has another 8% drop in enrollments (as looks likely), then C/O 2017 should end up with around 32,500 graduates, the lowest since 1976.

C/O 2012 found 30,453 LTFT positions that were either bar passage required or JD-advantage. From 1998-2008, the percentage of grads who got one of those positions hovered around 75%. If you consider that the historical equilibrium (and the number of positions holds steady), then we'll get back to normal with the class of 2015

Since NALP began tracking in 1985, the highest ever employment percentage was 84.5%. If the number of jobs holds steady, C/O 2017 would see 93.7%.

It seems like we're in the overcorrection phase of a bursted bubble, which is a nice place to be.


What are you talking about? Why are you looking at 20 year trends in a profession undergoing systemic change and contraction?

The difference in employment and cost vs benefit from even 10 years ago is huge.

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cotiger
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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby cotiger » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:38 am

NYstate wrote:
cotiger wrote:
Skump wrote:What's frightening is that this is still far too many applicants. We've seen multiple year on year declines, and we're still in a bubble.


I don't think that's correct.

Assuming that C/O 2016 has a normal attrition rate, they should graduate around 35,300 students, lowest since 1983. If this cycle has another 8% drop in enrollments (as looks likely), then C/O 2017 should end up with around 32,500 graduates, the lowest since 1976.

C/O 2012 found 30,453 LTFT positions that were either bar passage required or JD-advantage. From 1998-2008, the percentage of grads who got one of those positions hovered around 75%. If you consider that the historical equilibrium (and the number of positions holds steady), then we'll get back to normal with the class of 2015

Since NALP began tracking in 1985, the highest ever employment percentage was 84.5%. If the number of jobs holds steady, C/O 2017 would see 93.7%.

It seems like we're in the overcorrection phase of a bursted bubble, which is a nice place to be.


What are you talking about? Why are you looking at 20 year trends in a profession undergoing systemic change and contraction?

The difference in employment and cost vs benefit from even 10 years ago is huge.


Well, if there is a significant contraction between 2012 and 2017, then yes that would gagne things. Which is why I said assuming the number of jobs holds steady. However, even with a 20% contraction to 24,375 (which is absurdly extreme, as even the super terrible C/O 2011 still had 28,959), we would still be at 75% employment--the same percentage as in the average year of the go-go period of 1998-2008.

As for cost-benefit differences, see my post right before yours. Of course cost-benefit is different now. That doesn't change the fact that we are no longer producing too many lawyers with respect to the number of entry-level jobs.

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -14.5%

Postby BillsFan9907 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:38 pm

hung jury wrote:
cotiger wrote:Wow, if this 14.5% decrease holds up, this year will have the largest percentage decline yet.

The previous three cycles had applicant declines of 10.7%, 13.5%, and 12.3%.

No indication of a bottom so far.

8)


Also of note: Last cycle schools extended the cycle for applications. This caused the decline in applications to slow, on a year over year basis, as the cycle advanced into months that used to be dead months for recruiting. But since this is a YOY analysis, the extended 2012-2013 campaign for tuition dollars is now baked into the comparison.

The short of it is that we're unlikely to see the same YOY late-year growth in applications this cycle.


Columbia did it this cycle, although ostensibly because of LSAT test takers being snowed out.

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jenesaislaw
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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby jenesaislaw » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:56 pm

cotiger wrote:
NYstate wrote:
cotiger wrote:
Skump wrote:What's frightening is that this is still far too many applicants. We've seen multiple year on year declines, and we're still in a bubble.


I don't think that's correct.

Assuming that C/O 2016 has a normal attrition rate, they should graduate around 35,300 students, lowest since 1983. If this cycle has another 8% drop in enrollments (as looks likely), then C/O 2017 should end up with around 32,500 graduates, the lowest since 1976.

C/O 2012 found 30,453 LTFT positions that were either bar passage required or JD-advantage. From 1998-2008, the percentage of grads who got one of those positions hovered around 75%. If you consider that the historical equilibrium (and the number of positions holds steady), then we'll get back to normal with the class of 2015

Since NALP began tracking in 1985, the highest ever employment percentage was 84.5%. If the number of jobs holds steady, C/O 2017 would see 93.7%.

It seems like we're in the overcorrection phase of a bursted bubble, which is a nice place to be.


What are you talking about? Why are you looking at 20 year trends in a profession undergoing systemic change and contraction?

The difference in employment and cost vs benefit from even 10 years ago is huge.


Well, if there is a significant contraction between 2012 and 2017, then yes that would gagne things. Which is why I said assuming the number of jobs holds steady. However, even with a 20% contraction to 24,375 (which is absurdly extreme, as even the super terrible C/O 2011 still had 28,959), we would still be at 75% employment--the same percentage as in the average year of the go-go period of 1998-2008.

As for cost-benefit differences, see my post right before yours. Of course cost-benefit is different now. That doesn't change the fact that we are no longer producing too many lawyers with respect to the number of entry-level jobs.


a) You should at least credit your analysis to the place you got it -- last month's National Jurist.
b) I think the assumption is tough to swallow, especially given the fact that BLS once again reduced its projections.
c) Not for nothing, but the 2012 numbers are inflated by about 500 jobs because of school-funded jobs.
d) Also not for nothing, I would say the 2012 numbers are inflated by nearly 900 more jobs because of solo jobs. 910 LT, FT solo jobs. How many of them you think were sustainable and/or desirable is open for question.
e) Yet again not for nothing, 7000 jobs were LT, FT in firms with 2-10 attorneys. Not all of these jobs are fake; probably just a small percentage. But at least some come from new grads banding together and older attorneys taking advantage of desperate people.

Tough to know how far down to adjust the numbers, but some downward adjustment is necessary, particularly if one has an interest in reconciling the ABA data with the BLS projections over the last decade.

I also want to add that, given the cost, even 75% is pretty risky for people -- especially when the opportunity costs for attending law school is going up since some parts of the economy are improving. These data were not widely discussed before a few years ago, so any equilibrium reached was reached through a distorted lens.

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:12 pm

jenesaislaw wrote:
e) Yet again not for nothing, 7000 jobs were LT, FT in firms with 2-10 attorneys. Not all of these jobs are fake; probably just a small percentage. But at least some come from new grads banding together and older attorneys taking advantage of desperate people.

Tough to know how far down to adjust the numbers, but some downward adjustment is necessary, particularly if one has an interest in reconciling the ABA data with the BLS projections over the last decade.

I'm not sure any downward adjustment is necessary if we are comparing our current situation with the past. In 1999, there were 6,800 jobs in firms of 2-25 attorneys. I get that that isn't the same as the 2-10 category, but as with a lot of other data it shows that the current situation, even before adjusting for the rapid drop in matriculants going forward, is roughly on par with the years before the ridiculous runup in 2007-2008.

http://www.nalp.org/2001apremploymentprofiles

http://www.nalp.org/2001novtrends

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jenesaislaw
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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby jenesaislaw » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:50 pm

Agreed that things really aren't that different substantively underneath. But we're now evaluating roughly-full employment as of some hypothetical date. And we're doing so in the transparency era.

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cotiger
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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby cotiger » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:38 pm

jenesaislaw wrote:a) You should at least credit your analysis to the place you got it -- last month's National Jurist.


For sure, I saw that article on NatJurist, but since I don't trust reporters or lawyers (or especially lawyer-reporters?) with numbers, I searched for the data and calculated specifics myself. Also, why is it a thing for reporters to not provide links to the data or studies that they report on? This is the internet age, people. http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/ ... eckdam.pdf

Not listed is the first-year enrollment for C/O 2016, which was 39,675, a 10.9% decrease. (http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2013/12/17/fir ... 77-levels/)

If you assume an 8% reduction (a conservative figure) in first-year enrollment for C/O 2017, you get 36,501.

Then you can calculate attrition. Over the last 10 years, it has averaged 12%. Applying that number results in 39,143 grads for C/O 2015; 34,914 for C/O 2016; and 32,120 for C/O 2017. (This calculation differs slightly different from the previous post, which used the average attrition over just the last five years: 11%).

The percentage of grads with long-term legal jobs from 1985-2012 can be found here: http://www.nalp.org/0813research
The average from 1998-2008 (the boom years), is 75.2%.

You can go to these "National Summary" tables at NALP to find historical data on the number of long-term legal jobs: http://www.nalp.org/uploads/NationalSum ... rt2012.pdf

b) I think the assumption is tough to swallow, especially given the fact that BLS once again reduced its projections.
c) Not for nothing, but the 2012 numbers are inflated by about 500 jobs because of school-funded jobs.
d) Also not for nothing, I would say the 2012 numbers are inflated by nearly 900 more jobs because of solo jobs. 910 LT, FT solo jobs. How many of them you think were sustainable and/or desirable is open for question.
e) Yet again not for nothing, 7000 jobs were LT, FT in firms with 2-10 attorneys. Not all of these jobs are fake; probably just a small percentage. But at least some come from new grads banding together and older attorneys taking advantage of desperate people.

Tough to know how far down to adjust the numbers, but some downward adjustment is necessary, particularly if one has an interest in reconciling the ABA data with the BLS projections over the last decade.


From 1982-1997, of new grads in private practice, 5.4% were solos and 35.8% were in 2-10 person firms. During the boom of 1998-2008, that shrunk to 3.1% solo and 32.9% tiny firms. Over the four years of the crash (2009-2012), that has risen to 5.7% solo and 41% tiny firms.

So definitely, a 75% employment rate that keeps the distribution of during the crash would not be the same as the 75% during the boom. Still, we're not looking at a 75% employment rate for C/O 2017, but quite possibly much higher. We would need an extreme contraction of 20%, to an number that is 4,500 fewer than even 2011, to even get as low as 75%.

I also want to add that, given the cost, even 75% is pretty risky for people -- especially when the opportunity costs for attending law school is going up since some parts of the economy are improving. These data were not widely discussed before a few years ago, so any equilibrium reached was reached through a distorted lens.


Absolutely a risky bet if you're going into big-time debt. But really, anything is a risky bet when you go into big-time debt. And while the idea that law school isn't a sure path to riches may be novel to those weaned on the images and TV shows of the boom period, it's not a novel idea in general, even in the age before the internet.

This has all happened before, and it will all happen again...

From the Harvard Crimson in 1977:

"Interest in law school peaked in 1973-74, Joel S. Russell '71, pre-law adviser at OCS-OCL, said yesterday. The following year applications fell by more than 1000, and while 1975-76 total applications registered an increase, the trend downwards is reasserting itself, he said.

'While 100 people is not much of a fluctuation, I think there has been a tendency for application figures to drop, because a lot of people are beginning to realize that law is not a sure route to a career,' he said."

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1977/ ... 100-fewer/
Last edited by cotiger on Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby cotiger » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:14 pm

One other thing related to the decrease in value of law school due to costs. It has absolutely gotten more expensive than in the past, which definitely reduces its value. But it's not quite as much as some people think. (Or at least not as much as I think some people think).

Median tuition at public law schools has increased from $4k in 1985 to $7k in 1995 to $20k in 2011. Median tuition at private law schools has increased from $15k in 1985 to $25k in 1995 to $40k in 2011. Prices in 2011 dollars. http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewconten ... aul_campos

That's an increase in sticker price of 39k/48k since 1995/1985 at public schools and 45k/75k since 1995/1985 at private schools. You might adjust that difference downward a bit, though, if you want to take into consideration that fewer student pay sticker these days (47% in 2011 vs 55% in 2001). http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=120261 ... 0106090656

The differences are for sure significant. But after I looked up the numbers, it doesn't seem quite as earth-shatteringly different as is sometimes portrayed.

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby BillsFan9907 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:37 pm

Just got an e-mail from UC Davis. Deadline has been extended. We all know why.

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby NYstate » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:54 pm

cotiger wrote:One other thing related to the decrease in value of law school due to costs. It has absolutely gotten more expensive than in the past, which definitely reduces its value. But it's not quite as much as some people think. (Or at least not as much as I think some people think).

Median tuition at public law schools has increased from $4k in 1985 to $7k in 1995 to $20k in 2011. Median tuition at private law schools has increased from $15k in 1985 to $25k in 1995 to $40k in 2011. Prices in 2011 dollars. http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewconten ... aul_campos

That's an increase in sticker price of 39k/48k since 1995/1985 at public schools and 45k/75k since 1995/1985 at private schools. You might adjust that difference downward a bit, though, if you want to take into consideration that fewer student pay sticker these days (47% in 2011 vs 55% in 2001). http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=120261 ... 0106090656

The differences are for sure significant. But after I looked up the numbers, it doesn't seem quite as earth-shatteringly different as is sometimes portrayed.


I can't even.

Have fun paying sticker debt. The cost of law school must be completely justified because even the worst law schools charge over $40,000 for tuition and raise it every year. But don't worry your class will have full employment!

While you are picking and choosing numbers to post, maybe take a look at the bimodal salary distribution and how that has changed over time.

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cotiger
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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby cotiger » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:04 pm

Last thing related to the current value of the JD. While the increased risk and cost of the current degree decreases it's value, the entry-level salary situation increases its value compared to the pre-boom years. The current bimodal distribution first appeared around 2000 (the start of the boom). Prior to that, it was much more strongly clustered around a low salary peak with a little bit of tail to the right. However, that low salary peak is the same salary (for all years shown: 1991, 1996, 2000, 2006, and 2011) as the current lower peak when using inflation-adjusted dollars: about $50,000.

What is different between now and then is the creation of the upper end of the scale. In 1991, top earners made the equivalent of $140,000. However, only 4% of earners made that. Biglaw median starting salary back then was the equivalent of $115,000 now, and 12% of grads made that or greater. Compare that to 2011, where top earners make $160,000 and comprise 14% of graduates. This in a year with terrible numbers for biglaw.

Basically, what's happened is that the lower earners have stayed the same, but the higher earners earn much more.

ETA: Here is the paper -- http://www.nalp.org/uploads/0812Research.pdf
Last edited by cotiger on Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby cotiger » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:08 pm

NYstate wrote:I can't even.

Have fun paying sticker debt. The cost of law school must be completely justified because even the worst law schools charge over $40,000 for tuition and raise it every year. But don't worry your class will have full employment!

While you are picking and choosing numbers to post, maybe take a look at the bimodal salary distribution and how that has changed over time.


Too funny, I just did!

I'm not going to do sticker debt. That's insanity to me. I'm just saying that the difference in cost between now and 1995 is only about $50,000 (after including interest). That's a lot of money, but not as much as I had thought it would be from reading this site. Many people on here would say go to Harvard over Columbia w/ a $45k scholly for biglaw despite the two being basically the same in that area. People on here typically don't treat $45k as that much.

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby Paul Campos » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:20 pm

A few things:

(1) As Kyle suggests, there's a whole lot of air in the NALP stats. A significant percentage of entry-level "lawyer jobs" (FT/LT bar admission required) law schools report their graduates acquiring by nine months after graduation are sketchy in various ways. These included school-funded jobs, low-level state clerkships (both of these categories stretch the definition of "long-term" pretty severely), solos, and a good portion -- no one knows how many -- of the 40% of firm jobs that are in the 2-10 lawyer category. The latter jobs can certainly be legitimate starting points for genuine legal careers, but they can also be hourly contract work that leads nowhere, imaginary firms made up of recent graduates, law clerk positions that are essentially temporary, and so forth.

(2) JD Advantage is a category that's ripe for abuse, and it's abused quite a bit.

(3) The BLS estimate that the US economy can be anticipated to produce about 19,700 jobs for lawyers per year over the next decade is probably a more realistic estimate of how much demand there actually is for new law graduates. If anything that may be something of an overstatement, since this figure includes jobs that will be filled by unemployed attorneys, as opposed to lawyers moving from one legal job to another (who don't count against the total).

(4) No offense intended, but saying there's not a big difference between paying $45,000 for something and paying $120,000 for that same thing sounds like the kind of statement that is made by somebody who hasn't ever gone into serious debt to buy something.

(5) On that note, one thing the stats on tuition costs you quote don't reflect is that there had already been a huge run up in the cost of legal education between the 1950s and the 1980s. In the mid-1950s Harvard Law School tuition was $6,000 per year in 2012 dollars -- and Harvard was just about the most expensive law school in the country. It was still only $9,000 in the mid-1960s. Public law school resident tuition was essentially nominal almost everywhere in the 1960s and 1970s (like $1,000 or $2,000 per year in 2012 dollars). What all the talk of the post-2007 crash in big law hiring obscures is that an increasingly large number of law graduates have been struggling since at least the early 1990s (overall the legal sector of the economy has been flat for 25 years).

(6) The only reason law schools charge $40,000 and $50,000 and soon $60,000 per year in tuition is because they can (or, increasingly, because they could). Even if graduates were getting a reasonable return on these prices, those prices represent what economists call rent extraction -- that is, a price beyond the price that would be charged in a properly competitive market. There is no reason why a perfectly adequate legal education can't provided for $10,000 per year or less, and for decades it was.
Last edited by Paul Campos on Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby MCL Law Dean » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:32 pm

. . . and another "take" on the reasoning behind the escalating tuition rates is provided by the recent ABA Task Force Report on the Future of Legal Education, published January 23, 2014.

Rankings of law schools strongly influence the behavior of applicants, law schools, and employers. Some ranking systems (in particular U.S. News) purport to supply objective consumer information. However, little of the information used in ranking formulas relates to educational outcomes or conventional measures of programmatic quality or value. To that extent, rankings may provide misleading information to students as consumers.

Indeed, the choice of data on which to base rankings can adversely affect the interests of students as consumers. For example, U.S. News rankings are based in part (among other debatable criteria) on calculations of law school expenditures per student. This rewards increasing a school’s expenditures for the purpose of affecting ranking, without reference to impact on value delivered or educational outcomes. It promotes, rather than discourages, continued increase in the price of law school education.


Full Report:
http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/professional_responsibility/report_and_recommendations_of_aba_task_force.authcheckdam.pdf

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -14.5%

Postby JCougar » Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:55 pm

cotiger wrote:Wow, if this 14.5% decrease holds up, this year will have the largest percentage decline yet.

The previous three cycles had applicant declines of 10.7%, 13.5%, and 12.3%.

No indication of a bottom so far.

8)


So much for Stephen Diamond's "It's bottoming out!" foolishness.

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -14.5%

Postby prezidentv8 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:56 pm

JCougar wrote:
cotiger wrote:Wow, if this 14.5% decrease holds up, this year will have the largest percentage decline yet.

The previous three cycles had applicant declines of 10.7%, 13.5%, and 12.3%.

No indication of a bottom so far.

8)


So much for Stephen Diamond's "It's bottoming out!" foolishness.


FTFY

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cotiger
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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby cotiger » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:18 pm

Paul Campos wrote:A few things:

(1) As Kyle suggests, there's a whole lot of air in the NALP stats. A significant percentage of entry-level "lawyer jobs" (FT/LT bar admission required) law schools report their graduates acquiring by nine months after graduation are sketchy in various ways. These included school-funded jobs, low-level state clerkships (both of these categories stretch the definition of "long-term" pretty severely), solos, and a good portion -- no one knows how many -- of the 40% of firm jobs that are in the 2-10 lawyer category. The latter jobs can certainly be legitimate starting points for genuine legal careers, but they can also be hourly contract work that leads nowhere, imaginary firms made up of recent graduates, law clerk positions that are essentially temporary, and so forth.

(2) JD Advantage is a category that's ripe for abuse, and it's abused quite a bit.


How different is that sketchiness now compared to 10 years ago?

Even if you consider all current JD-advantage jobs BS and all previous JDA jobs legit, that still leads to an 80% employment rate (above average) even if job growth is zero. And then even if you say that all extra solo and 2-10 firm jobs above the percentage in line with 1982-2008 are BS (taking away another 2800 jobs), C/O 2017 would be at 75%. That's still back to normal, and it takes some heroic assumptions (notably the change in JDA jobs) to get us even that low.

(3) The BLS estimate that the US economy can be anticipated to produce about 19,700 jobs for lawyers per year over the next decade is probably a more realistic estimate of how much demand there actually is for new law graduates. If anything that may be something of an overstatement, since this figure includes jobs that will be filled by unemployed attorneys, as opposed to lawyers moving from one legal job to another (who don't count against the total).


Where does this come from? When I look at the BLS website, I just see net change figures. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm

(4) No offense intended, but saying there's not a big difference between paying $45,000 for something and paying $120,000 for that same thing sounds like the kind of statement that is made by somebody who hasn't ever gone into serious debt to buy something.


I agree completely. For me, that's huge. But if you look on LSN, last year every single person (7/7) who got a full-ride to Columbia turned it down. Similarly, 11/14 with UChi's full-ride+COL scholarship turned it down. Just look at all the threads here like "Ruby v. Harvard" where a significant number of people say go to Harvard. It was just disorienting to see the same site with so many people willing to pay 180k for extremely marginal improvements in outcome treat a tuition increase of 12-15k over twenty years (or 15-25k over thirty) as outrageous.

(5) On that note, one thing the stats on tuition costs you quote don't reflect is that there had already been a huge run up in the cost of legal education between the 1950s and the 1980s. In the mid-1950s Harvard Law School tuition was $6,000 per year in 2012 dollars -- and Harvard was just about the most expensive law school in the country. It was still only $9,000 in the mid-1960s. Public law school resident tuition was essentially nominal almost everywhere in the 1960s and 1970s (like $1,000 or $2,000 per year in 2012 dollars). What all the talk of the post-2007 crash in big law hiring obscures is that an increasingly large number of law graduates have been struggling since at least the early 1990s (overall the legal sector of the economy has been flat for 25 years).

(6) The only reason law schools charge $40,000 and $50,000 and soon $60,000 per year in tuition is because they can (or, increasingly, because they could). Even if graduates were getting a reasonable return on these prices, those prices represent what economists call rent extraction -- that is, a price beyond the price that would be charged in a properly competitive market. There is no reason why a perfectly adequate legal education can't provided for $10,000 per year or less, and for decades it was.


I'm actually okay with this. Law school is professional school, so charge what the market (I know, I know, a heavily distorted market, but still) will bear. Let the proceeds help fund the academic programs that are the actual mission of a university. Being a lawyer for cheap is not a right, and it's not something that needs to be subsidized (that goes for you, too, easy-to-get gov't loans!). The big problem in my mind is what the money is spent on (high salaries for administrators, expensive buildings, etc) rather than the cost per se.

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby prezidentv8 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:50 pm

cotiger wrote:I'm actually okay with this. Law school is professional school, so charge what the market (I know, I know, a heavily distorted market, but still) will bear.


I'm okay with this as long as (1) there is complete, fully audited data easily and publicly available, (2) some sort of underwriting/risk based financing for student loans is put in place, and (3) law schools stop pretending they are anything but a business.

Markets only function properly when there is complete or near-complete information available, and when the costs are directly borne by the actors. Throwing billions in non-dischargeable loans at people in their early twenties who don't know anything about anything, so that they can get a degree from a school that is lying about what the actual value of that degree is, is a recipe for disaster.

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby cotiger » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:01 pm

prezidentv8 wrote:
cotiger wrote:I'm actually okay with this. Law school is professional school, so charge what the market (I know, I know, a heavily distorted market, but still) will bear.


I'm okay with this as long as (1) there is complete, fully audited data easily and publicly available, (2) some sort of underwriting/risk based financing for student loans is put in place, and (3) law schools stop pretending they are anything but a business.

Markets only function properly when there is complete or near-complete information available, and when the costs are directly borne by the actors. Throwing billions in non-dischargeable loans at people in their early twenties who don't know anything about anything, so that they can get a degree from a school that is lying about what the actual value of that degree is, is a recipe for disaster.


100% agree.

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby MCL Law Dean » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:22 pm

In a a recent article titled "PRICING CLINICAL LEGAL EDUCATION", Professor Robert R. Kuehn, Professor of Law, Washington University School of Law in St. Louis summarized a number of the points related to the rise in law school tuition . . . and it goes directly to the point that increased tuition does not reflect increased spending on the educational quality of the classroom experience or on academic support. With enrollment numbers dropping for the third (?) or is it fourth (?) straight year, shouldn't that be the real point of the discussion?

The causes for the rise in tuition are likely many, with no consensus on which factor is most significant or on the scope of contribution from the various factors. Many believe that the increased size and rising salaries of faculty, driven in part by reduced teaching loads and competition among schools for the best faculty, are important causes. Professor Peter Joy (Peter A. Joy, The Cost of Clinical Legal Education, 32 B.C. J.L. & SOC. JUST. 309, 316 (2012)) concluded, after looking at the dramatic fall in teaching loads at law schools, that “the most significant long-term drivers of rising legal education costs are lower teaching loads and higher salaries for law faculty.” The average law school had 37% more full-time professors in 2012 than it did in 1999, even though total law school enrollment was only 13.5% higher. Student-faculty ratios at an average-sized law school decreased by 28% during the 10-year period from 2002 to 2012. As one commentator observed, law schools have chosen more professors over reduced tuition. A National Jurist study estimated that 48% of the tuition increase from 2000 to 2010 was attributable to increased faculty size and higher salaries.


Professor Richard Neumann (Richard K. Neumann, Jr., Distorted Resource Allocations in Legal Education 5-8, Address at Boston College of Law School Symposium: The Way to Carnegie: Practice, Practice, Practice (Oct. 28, 2011)) argues that the cost of legal education is substantially higher in part because of the large subsidy students pay, via their tuition, for faculty scholarship. He estimates that with faculty spending 30% to 50% of their time producing scholarship, the cost of writing one law review article per year may be as high as $88,000.

Dean Ed Rubin (Ed Rubin, Should Law Schools Support Faculty Research?, 17 J. OF CONTEMP. LEGAL ISSUES 139, 142 (2008)) similarly noted . . . "if faculty were not expected to conduct research, they could teach twice as much, thus reducing the faculty cost of providing the same number of course by 40 to 50%," resulting in tuition savings to students in the same proportion.

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby hung jury » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:32 pm

cotiger wrote:
I agree completely. For me, that's huge. But if you look on LSN, last year every single person (7/7) who got a full-ride to Columbia turned it down. Similarly, 11/14 with UChi's full-ride+COL scholarship turned it down. Just look at all the threads here like "Ruby v. Harvard" where a significant number of people say go to Harvard. It was just disorienting to see the same site with so many people willing to pay 180k for extremely marginal improvements in outcome treat a tuition increase of 12-15k over twenty years (or 15-25k over thirty) as outrageous.




The modal student choosing HYS over a Hamilton isn't financing sticker at HYS with their own debt-financed money. Not even close.

The difference in COA for me was less than 50k, and that doesn't include some of the financial opportunities I've already received that I wouldn't have had at CCN. Others obviously have their family foot the bill.

It's a terrible way to think about the long-term significance of tuition increases for the average student.
Last edited by hung jury on Fri Feb 07, 2014 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby cotiger » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:50 pm

MCL Law Dean wrote:In a a recent article titled "PRICING CLINICAL LEGAL EDUCATION", Professor Robert R. Kuehn, Professor of Law, Washington University School of Law in St. Louis summarized a number of the points related to the rise in law school tuition . . . and it goes directly to the point that increased tuition does not reflect increased spending on the educational quality of the classroom experience or on academic support. With enrollment numbers dropping for the third (?) or is it fourth (?) straight year, shouldn't that be the real point of the discussion?

The causes for the rise in tuition are likely many, with no consensus on which factor is most significant or on the scope of contribution from the various factors. Many believe that the increased size and rising salaries of faculty, driven in part by reduced teaching loads and competition among schools for the best faculty, are important causes. Professor Peter Joy (Peter A. Joy, The Cost of Clinical Legal Education, 32 B.C. J.L. & SOC. JUST. 309, 316 (2012)) concluded, after looking at the dramatic fall in teaching loads at law schools, that “the most significant long-term drivers of rising legal education costs are lower teaching loads and higher salaries for law faculty.” The average law school had 37% more full-time professors in 2012 than it did in 1999, even though total law school enrollment was only 13.5% higher. Student-faculty ratios at an average-sized law school decreased by 28% during the 10-year period from 2002 to 2012. As one commentator observed, law schools have chosen more professors over reduced tuition. A National Jurist study estimated that 48% of the tuition increase from 2000 to 2010 was attributable to increased faculty size and higher salaries.


Professor Richard Neumann (Richard K. Neumann, Jr., Distorted Resource Allocations in Legal Education 5-8, Address at Boston College of Law School Symposium: The Way to Carnegie: Practice, Practice, Practice (Oct. 28, 2011)) argues that the cost of legal education is substantially higher in part because of the large subsidy students pay, via their tuition, for faculty scholarship. He estimates that with faculty spending 30% to 50% of their time producing scholarship, the cost of writing one law review article per year may be as high as $88,000.

Dean Ed Rubin (Ed Rubin, Should Law Schools Support Faculty Research?, 17 J. OF CONTEMP. LEGAL ISSUES 139, 142 (2008)) similarly noted . . . "if faculty were not expected to conduct research, they could teach twice as much, thus reducing the faculty cost of providing the same number of course by 40 to 50%," resulting in tuition savings to students in the same proportion.



Yeah, increased faculty costs due to reduced course loads, "research", and a focus on publishing is definitely one of those areas that I don't think is a legitimate use of tuition funds. Law school is professional school, not research academia, and the focus should be on teaching.

That being said, I'm afraid that for the most part change will have to come from the inside. People fight extraordinarily hard to keep benefits they've gained, and unless schools literally won't be able to stay open unless they drop tuition (which doesn't make much sense), the force for change won't come from the demand side.

Three things are going to have to happen for tuition to meaningfully come down. A) Professors are going to have to willingly take on greater course loads and reduced salaries/benefits. B) Administrators are going to have to decide to give back that extra money to ALL students (not just spend it on schollys for high scorers) rather than spending it elsewhere or kicking it back to the broader university. C) Rankings will have to change so as not to incentive arms race behavior, which includes deemphasizing entrance scores bc that leads schools to let in higher scorers for free while making back that lost tuition money on lower scorers.

I don't see any of those happening, much less all three. So what we'll see is some of the lowest performing schools that simply can't attract any students go under or have a massive reorganization, and everyone else will remain as they are.

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby MCL Law Dean » Fri Feb 07, 2014 3:15 pm

Let me throw out another possible scenario . . . the ABA continues down the path of releasing law schools from the stranglehold of tenure (through rule modifications, not elimination) . . . adjunct and clinical faculty become accepted and possibly even required as significant academic resources . . . and the non-T1 schools are provided incentives (through rule modification) to move away from the "research" model and change their delivery model to be practice-based regional law schools serving local/regional markets.

If the ABA will provide some flexibility, there may be a surprising number of university presidents who are looking at significant (multi-year) financial losses in their law schools and would consider standing up to the tenure cartel and change the cost structure of legal education. Even a few years ago, I would have said this was impossible. However, before we go down the path of closing law schools that serve regional markets . . . perhaps the time is right to consider (and encourage) approved categories of lower cost law schools that better reflect the needs of the courts, practitioners, and under-served public.

With all due respect to my academic colleagues . . . isn't it time to consider whether the real issue is too many tenured law professors . . . not too many law schools?

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby cotiger » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:06 pm

MCL Law Dean wrote:Let me throw out another possible scenario . . . the ABA continues down the path of releasing law schools from the stranglehold of tenure (through rule modifications, not elimination) . . . adjunct and clinical faculty become accepted and possibly even required as significant academic resources . . . and the non-T1 schools are provided incentives (through rule modification) to move away from the "research" model and change their delivery model to be practice-based regional law schools serving local/regional markets.

If the ABA will provide some flexibility, there may be a surprising number of university presidents who are looking at significant (multi-year) financial losses in their law schools and would consider standing up to the tenure cartel and change the cost structure of legal education. Even a few years ago, I would have said this was impossible. However, before we go down the path of closing law schools that serve regional markets . . . perhaps the time is right to consider (and encourage) approved categories of lower cost law schools that better reflect the needs of the courts, practitioners, and under-served public.

With all due respect to my academic colleagues . . . isn't it time to consider whether the real issue is too many tenured law professors . . . not too many law schools?


If the ABA can do things to help shake it up, that's awesome. I have no idea. But I'm not particularly optimistic that even if they could, they would. Too many vested interests. If a university started messing with law professor tenure, I imagine the rest of the school's professors would start to riot as well. Because once you start down that path..

Even if that was implemented, you'd still be faced with issues B) and C). Reforming law professor status would not by itself change law schools' tuition bingeing.

Also, I have to say the issue is both too many tenured professors AND too many law schools. I don't think many would say that regional schools such as Montana or UNLV need to shut down, despite their dodgy employment numbers. They serve areas that have no other options for legal education. But there are plenty of schools in oversaturated markets like California, Pennsylvania, or even NY that have literally no reason for existence.

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Re: LSAC: Applicants: -15.9%

Postby MCL Law Dean » Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:46 am

It has become a common refrain that there are too many law schools, but I think that is too simplistic of a statement. Like saying there are too many cars on the road or too many people in the world . . . none of these statements offer a solution. What I I think is that there are too many of the wrong type of law schools.

Ask anyone who works in legal services for pro bono or limited means clients, legal services for seniors, child advocacy, domestic violence, or immigrant rights. There is a shortage of lawyers and a dire need for additional legal services for these clients. There are jobs in these fields. There will need to be new lawyers in these fields.

What no one argues is that we need more law review articles in these areas. So why not advocate for law schools that are priced to serve what we actually need and not merely what too many tenured law professors want? CA and NY actually need more lawyers, just not more BigLaw lawyers. The State Bars of California and NY agree and have task forces changing the rules. The ABA does as well. The question is how far they will go and whether the law schools AND law students will get on board with real solutions.




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