toaster2 wrote:i don't think it's reasonable to expect top law school to reduce "costs." what are they going to do? cut faculty, cut financial aid, increase class size, shrink clinical programs, etc.? any of that will negatively impact the quality of education received. i would imagine that the top firms are going to want people with the best education possible. additionally, i can't imagine that any top firm is going to begin some "apprenticeship" program that (as you have described) is clearly not in the best interests of law students. how will they attract top talent that way? and if they aren't attracting top talent, are legal consumers going to be comfortable spending less money for admittedly less than top talent?
Just bringing the news from what one biglaw partner says is going on... not saying it's an accurate prediction by any means, but it does make sense given what we're actually worth to them. Tuition was only able to increase substantially because starting salaries were going up (though Matthies is quick to point out that tuition also depends on what they can get away with charging, so demand from people willing to go to law school regardless of the actual job prospects is a huge problem as well).
The same partner also joked about how his big firm job coming out of law school back in the 70's paid him $13,000 and how crazy it is to pay us over ten times that much. He said people were lucky back then if they could afford to buy a house a full five years after law school because of how little they made as new associates. What he seems to miss entirely is that his $13,000 salary only cost a fraction of that in tuition and living expenses for three years, and that for many of us it will be a lot longer than five years before we're in any position to start owning things. I would bet a lot of partners out there are equally not cognizant of what 200K in debt means to recent law graduates. If I were going to be really skeptical I'd point out that all the debt means to them is that you're not going anywhere for at least ten years because your debt payments are too high. Sure we want lower debt but there's not a whole lot of incentives out there for either schools or employers to want the same thing. Matthies is right in that if the elite firms can pull it off the rest of them will as well.
And tuition-dependent law schools absolutely will need to cut costs if they're going to reduce tuition. Things would at least be more reasonable if they moved to a two-year program instead of three and had people working an apprentice salary for the third year.
You are right that any metric currently used in the USNews methodology needs to be reconsidered if we want to incentivize schools to make legal education less expensive. Either that, or endowments have to become Yale-sized across the board to subsidize education and return tuition to where it used to be while keeping per-student expenditures high.
Matthies wrote:but it was not until the 2000s that many firms started immolating them and raising their billings according
Yeah, well there is a lot of immolation in these firms.
Matthies would probably not have the time to post on this board if he had to go back correcting all of the spelling errors his brain makes... dyslexia gives him a unique 'native tongue,' as he used to call it over on lawschooldiscussion. I actually like trying to figure out what he's saying sometimes... makes things interesting.