Law School Tuition Hikes, Economy Downturn, why are you still going?

 

On June 18, 2010, The Triangle Business Journal published: 

Even as salaries go flat, Triangle law schools continue hiking tuition – Triangle Business Journal

The authors smacks you in the face with facts in the first paragraph: “DURHAM – Despite the battering the legal industry has endured over the past couple of years – which included salary and job cuts at many firms around the country – local law students will face rising tuition costs yet again this fall.” Interesting, you failed to mentioned the number of lawyers who are UNEMPLOYED but seem to emphasize the big and mid size law firms reduced salaries. Maybe you aren’t so forthright.

The law schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, Campbell University and N.C. Central University all plan to increase tuition rates, and the total cost of earning a law degree now approaches or exceeds six figures for many students.” Riiiigghhhtt, now it approaches six figures, well most law students unless on scholarship, trust fund or help from some anonymous source are already burdened with this amount of student loans. Notice that despite the fact most law graduates aren’t finding jobs, saddled with tremendous non-dischargable debt, these law schools are still raising tuition. How can you justify it? Let’s put some theories out: 1) to deter the poorer Americans to not go to law school, based on the statistics of the current economy I think it’s reasonable to say that those will primarily be minorities. 2) these schools may have been poorly operated or lost endowments, funds in these Madoff & co. ponzi schemes like Harvard did 3) They know that there are still plenty of delusional 0Ls who think they will beat these odds and somehow by obtaining a Juris Doctor their lives will be complete, they just need to work hard to get on the other side. There is a saying: “Work harder, not smarter.” Allowing oneself to be under the tutelage of adults who are disgruntled with their lives and can have a major impact on your future life (standard of living, income, sanity) with just the stroke of the red pen versus taking heed to all of these warnings that law school is not worth the investment. With the changes in the economy, business models within the legal industry it is likely never to return to its once ‘glorious’ state.

“Students are faced with a very tough question,” says Boger, the dean of UNC-Chapel Hill’s law school. “I think there’s a whole lot of recalculation going on.”

“The old math was pretty simple: Law school was expensive, but debt incurred could be paid off in a reasonable amount of time because starting salaries at big-time law firms paid so handsomely. Then came the economic downturn, which belted law firms’ customers and, in turn, the firms themselves. That caused many big law firms to hire fewer new lawyers and pay the ones they did hire less than before.”

You see members of the legal industry who would benefit from you attending law school are even telling prospective students that you better reconsider your decision to go to law school. While others still attempt to justify the costs of such a prestigious profession:

“Bill Hoye, the university’s associate dean of admissions and student affairs, says Duke’s tuition is comparable to the top law schools in the country. He adds that law school is an investment that can pay off over a 40-plus-year career – and there is still a large earnings potential at big firms. Many of the area’s largest law firms still pay starting salaries well in excess of $100,000.”

Let’s see, the average lawyer likely not to continue practicing law after 6-10 years from what I have witnessed or is working to transition into another career. The fact that this dean “guesses” that it is possible for the ‘investment’ to pay in 40 years =nothing but a gamble to assume that the legal industry will recover from these fundamental changes that have already happened, that what you earn as a starting salary will be that of a BigLaw associate–which is reserved for the few–at least it used to be as now Harvard and Yale law graduates are unable to secure employment; even should one be able to earn a particular salary, it doesn’t last forever: mergers, layoffs, downsizing, changes in business models in the past only 10 years have devastated so many lawyers. One can only image what will happen in another 40 years!

Hoye thinks that what Duke offers students in terms of top-notch faculty and programs is worth the cost. “The quality of education is just outstanding,” says Hoye, who adds that financial aid at Duke’s law school also will rise by at least 5.5 percent this year. I’M SURE HE DOES.

“Duke projects it will have 744 full-time law students next year, while UNC will have about 800. Campbell plans to have about 450 total law students.” I’m not sure if they are referring to a new set of incoming class or whether if they include next year’s incoming class that will be their total number of students matriculating at the time. Either way it’s sad.

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3 Comments »

  1. [...] June 22, 2010, Life’s Mockery published a post concernining law school tuition increase: http://lifesmockery.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/law-school-tuition-hikes-economy-downturn-why-are-you-s… U.S. News and World Reports have finally taken the time to discuss it, only to present it as only [...]

  2. Nando Said:

    Well, this douchebag TTT dean thinks a law career might last 40-50 years. If they can even crack the field, that is, right?!

    http://thirdtierreality.blogspot.com/2010/04/profiles-in-hypocrisy-ttt-dean-thomas.html

    “At the 1:04-1:41 portion of this interview, you show that you clearly do not care about your students’ level of indebtedness. Regarding those students who are borrowing heavily for a third tier legal education, you had this to say: “I still think that’s a pretty good deal. If you ask yourself ‘Are you prepared to invest $75,000 or $80,000 in a career that might extend for 40 or 50 years.’”

    • A Law School Victim Said:

      Sometimes I think I will vomit reading the false hopes, false expectation and misleading information contributing to the former…


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