MikeSpivey wrote:HorseThief wrote:SnakySalmon wrote:Random fun question: If you gave someone ten billion dollars and told them they had a decade to create a law school that would crush YHS in the rankings, could they, or is age and the attached undergrad important enough that they would have an advantage despite your much larger endowment?
I like the way you think
They couldn't, not IMO. Good question, I'm going to ask a few law schools deans that next time I see them.
Bounced this off of a few people. One is Scott Moss, whose bio is here:
He and I talk about this kind of stuff when we get together. His response (with permission to print) is:
Mike, this is an outstandingly fun question. If I had $10 billion for the Colorado Law admissions committee I chair to recommend allocating, my first several goals wouldn’t be out-ranking Yale. My first goals would be to do much more awesome things, like endowing all of the following (i.e., banking enough for the standard 4% annual endowment payout to fully fund each): free tuition, plus a book and laptop allowance, for all (annual cost $25 million for a small school like Colorado Law, or $75m for a large school like Fordham); $10K public interest summer fellowships for everyone who wants one (about $5 million a year at a large school); building a far more elaborate one-on-one training clinical education program than any law school can afford now (e.g., at a large school, 100 lawyers, talented enough to have to be paid $150K each, supervising teams of only 2-3 students each, which if you include support staff could cost $20 million a year); and a restaurant-quality law school café at which meals and snacks are free with a student ID (about $10 million a year if students really pig out). For a large school, that gets me to about $110 million, which would cost about $3 billion to endow.
Wow, after spending $3b, I still have $7b left of the $10b; I guess $10b is kind of a lot. So, yeah, I guess I’d then go outrank Yale with the rest; here’s how. (1) Build your basic 50 faculty members by poaching the best faculty at every other school with half-million-dollar salaries; that would cost $30m/yr with benefits and support staff. (2) Add to the basic faculty roster a few superstars who would cost $1-2m/yr, like a retired Supreme Court justice, other superstar judges (like Posner if he is willing to retire when he sees a job posting for a $1m annual salary), and other luminaries, like Barack Obama as of January 2017 (he’d probably cost a few million a year); a dozen of those folks could run $20m/yr. (3) On top of the free tuition, a $50,000 stipend if you have elite credentials – either elite numbers (e.g., 3.8 GPA and mid-170s LSAT) or solid numbers plus awesome things about yourself that make us convinced you’re at least as promising as the folks with superstar numbers (e.g., major leadership roles and/or fantastic work experience), because to beat Yale’s medians, I need only half my class to have mid-170s LSAT, so the rest can be people with middling numbers whose experiences show awesome potential ($50K/yr for as many as 1500 students is $75 million/yr). (4) Locate in an awesome city and spend eight figures on kick-ass free housing for all your students, like buying a whole 1000-unit apartment building in Manhattan (about $1 billion to buy, then $20 million a year to maintain), and come to think of it, I would like a mini-mall of five-star restaurants on the ground floor at which students could eat free (about $50 million a year). Those four items cost $175m/yr, which requires $4.25b to endow, plus $1 bullion to buy the building, so that’s $5.25 for this stuff, plus $3 billion for the above items, which comes to $8.25 billion. I suppose I’d keep the remaining $1.75b in endowment in case anything else awesome comes to mind. Could I get a few hundred of the top law school prospects in the country to come with this kind of offer? Yeah, I think so. I forgot to add a gym with a pool, tennis courts, and a bowling alley, come to think of it.