LawProf Taking Questions

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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby matt2010 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:49 pm

Thanks for taking questions. You mentioned that H and Y dominate academia. Is Stanford less impressive for academia than those two?

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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby shortporch » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:51 pm

matt2010 wrote:Thanks for taking questions. You mentioned that H and Y dominate academia. Is Stanford less impressive for academia than those two?

This chart from Brian Leiter should help. Granted, these are total hirings from 40+ years, so there can be ebbs and flows in terms of hiring.

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General Tso

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Re: LawProf Taking Questions

Postby General Tso » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:59 pm

shortporch wrote:
swheat wrote:Thanks for the response to my previous question.

You've said before that you teach at a T1 school. Do you think there are too many law schools? What ethical obligations do you think American educational institutions owe to heavily indebted students?

It's a broad question but I am very curious to know what an 'insider' thinks about ballooning tuition. At my school for instance, tuition has jumped from around $10,000 per year in 2000 to $40,000 in 2010. Where does it end? Will tuition be $160,000 in 2020?

I think I've said I teach at a non-T14, non-fourth tier school, which may or may not be a T1 school. I think there are too many law schools, but, as a fairly junior faculty member in the academy, this is not exactly a position I take publicly. For ethical obligations, I guess I don't quite understand. I don't know what kind of impressions law students have when coming to law school. Do they expect to make millions at any ol' law school? Are law schools leading them to believe they will? It just seems that too many people think law school is a good idea, and law schools are happy to oblige.

Tuition isn't a very good indicator. Indebtedness at graduation is more important. By inflating tuition, schools can push donors for more scholarships, which means more spending per student and a more attractive package for students. As long as there are a number of factors out there (e.g., federally-subsidized loans keeping the costs artificially low, students discounting the serious effect of their indebtedness through narrow-sighted views of how loans work, etc.) that affect tuition as much as law schools' decisions to hike tuition.

Thanks again for the response. As for ethical concerns, the general idea is that law schools are dishonest in their portrayal of career prospects. Many people on this forum consider statistics posted by careers services offices to be misrepresentations (eg - cherry picking the students who are hounded for salary data, not disclosing the survey response rates, posting average salaries rather than midranges or medians).

I understand your point about indebtedness being a better indicator, but even that figure is going up at my school (up from 75k to nearly 90k in the last few years). And looking at that figure alone obscures the burden that tuition places on many students. My story - middle class family from deep south, parents earn around 65k combined, had ZERO undergrad debt due to scholarship, and 30k savings from work experience and personal savings. Now, between small family contributions and expending ALL of my personal savings, I figure to be in around $75k debt (I received no aid from my school).

So even though my level of indebtedness seems to be not so bad, this tuition is causing a major burden for me and my family. Of course nobody held a gun to my head, but at some level I think young people should expect to have reasonable opportunities in education without burdening themselves for life.

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