Browsing: News

While more and more college grads have been avoiding the law school path, there is one group that appears to be coming back: high LSAT scorers. Going by the LSAT and GPA numbers, the current crop of students at the top law schools is substantially weaker than the pool we had in the recession years 2008-2011, when people were applying to law schools in droves. This isn’t surprising: from a high in 2009-2010, when some 171,514 people took the LSAT, the number has tumbled to just 105,532 who took the LSAT last year. With that much smaller a group, there are way bound to be…

The ABA just updated its yearly employment figures for all accredited law schools. It’s mostly so-so news: there was very little change from last year’s results, when just 56.2% found employment in full-time, long-term jobs requiring a JD. This year’s crop of 2013 grads placed 57% percent out of a total 46,776 graduates into such jobs. Well it’s a slight improvement, it’s proof that the market for JDs is still very weak.

Brooklyn Law School recently announced a 15% percent cut to tuition. Although Brooklyn will maintain tuition at its current level of $53,850 a year for the class entering this coming fall, next year’s tuition will decrease to $45,850. That’s not all Brooklyn is doing, however: they are also increasing need-based aid, decreasing merit aid, and they claim that LSAT scores will no longer factor in their decision to award merit aid. 

The ABA Journal reported yesterday that Roger Williams University in Rhode Island has cut tuition by 18 percent, lowering tuition from $41,400 to $33,792 for the 2014-15 school year. The reduction, which fixes tuition for at least three years, amounts to $7,600 saved yearly for full-time students. When Iowa and Penn State lowered tuition over a month ago, we were hopeful that this was just the beginning of widespread tuition reductions at U.S. law schools. Since then, the hoped for cascade of cuts has yet to materialize. It is not too surprising, however, that changes at law schools will come about slowly. Roger Williams’…

In this 3rd edition of law school cost watch, I’m happy to report that there is more progress on the front lines: George Mason, the large Virginia public university, announced that it will be freezing tuition at the law school in the coming year. From their website: The Board of Visitors of George Mason University voted today at its quarterly meeting to freeze the tuition of the law school for the upcoming year, for current and incoming students, and it declared its intention not to increase law tuition through 2016-17. The Dean of the law school, Dan Polsby, stated, “One…

A couple of days ago University of Iowa announced that it was lowering tuition. Now, Penn State has followed suit, announcing a major slash to tuition for in-state students. From the Centre Dailey: Penn State will cut the cost of tuition at The Dickinson School of Law $20,000 a year as part of a financial incentive that officials at the university hope will boost admissions at a time when law schools nationwide have seen fewer students enroll because of the economy and the cost of an education. Basically, Penn State plans to give in-state students 50% off a year, the…

A couple weeks ago, I blogged about how University of Iowa (ranked #26 in the US News) was considering a student-backed proposal to cut out-of-state tuition costs. In what can only be described as an early Christmas miracle, it appears that U of Iowa has not just agreed to the proposed out-of-state tuition cuts, they’ve actually lowered in state tuition as well. The board of regents rejected the initial proposal from the law school, and decided to give the same 16.4% tuition reduction to in-state students. This all adds up to a $7,750 a year cut for nonresident students to $39,500,…

Prairie populism is apparently alive and well, but now it’s law students, not farmers, throwing their collective weight against the entrenched élite. The Iowa student bar association is supporting a proposal to lower out-of-state tuition at Iowa’s only public law school, The University of Iowa College Of Law, by nearly $8,000. This story comes by way of the Press-Citizen. The student association’s president was quoted, saying, “the value of a law degree is elevated when a school can attract students from out-of-state. Improving the law school benefits in-state and out-of-state students.” Now, I think what he is implying here is that…

When it comes to law jobs, becoming a law professor is one of the highest brass rings you can hope to grab. For those wishing to scale these Olympian heights, beware. A new study from professor Tracey George of Vanderbilt and Albert Yoon of University of Toronto took an empirical look at the factors that influence legal hiring. The findings suggest that the process for hiring tenure track faculty is rigidly elitist.

Phil Weiser, Dean of CU Boulder recently posted a short article, “Five Initiatives That Legal Education Needs” giving his thoughts on how to fix our stagnant corner of academia. Respect to Weiser, who has to live in the same hall of learning as professor Paul Campos, the most vocal anti-law school critic around. Secondly, CU Boulder has been relatively good about telling it’s incoming students what kind of job prospects they have. LawSchoolTransparency.com gave them a perfect score at least. Weiser also has some okay ideas about where law school should be headed. He says: Training law students to develop an…

When Kaplan isn’t busy providing second-rate LSAT prep, they do use their piles of money to put out some pretty useful surveys. A recent survey, released by Kaplan, shows that most law schools are reducing class size and that a lot “plan” to do so next year as well: “54% of law school admissions officers report cutting their entering law school classes for 2013-2014 and 25% plan to do so again next year. This marks two years in a row that law schools report cutting their entering class sizes; Kaplan’s 2012 survey showed 51% of schools cutting the size of…

Law school is a bit like a stable, and the professors are its horses. Brian Leiter, a professor at U Chicago, devised a method of ranking the law school stables with his proprietary “Scholarly Impact Score.” The score is calculated from the mean and the median of total law journal citations over the past five years to the work of tenured members of a school’s law faculty. This score gives us an idea how influential the faculty are among the various schools.

We have talked about how incoming law students are in a better position than ever to get big merit scholarships. A recent article in Fortune has me realizing that I may have underestimated just how green the grass is out there. How green is it? It’s 18th-hole-at-Augusta-green. Fortune reported on a student bound for the law school Washington University in St. Louis who negotiated a full-tuition scholarship with a 166 LSAT score. While that’s a respectable score, it should be noted that it’s just at the school’s median for the previous year!

The media is on fire lately covering the topic of law school cost. While people differ in the particulars, there is general agreement that law school is currently too damned expensive. Paul Campos, a law professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder, has pointed out that lawyers going into biglaw in the 1980’s had to pay a little less than 60% of one year’s pre-tax salary to cover the full-tuition cost of going to law school, whereas now biglaw lawyers have to pay something closer to 100% of one year’s pre-tax salary to cover it. So even those in…

A snippet published in the ABA Journal today says that some 25 law schools are now accepting June LSAT scores for admission to class in the coming fall. The change is hardly surprising given that schools are doing anything and everything to bulk up admissions as total applications to law school continue to tumble year over year (see yesterday’s post for more on these trends). The new policy isn’t confined to schools outside the top tier either: Among the schools to announce such a change is 21st-ranked University of Alabama School of Law and 31st-ranked University of North Carolina School…

No, I don’t have a blue screen yet so we can’t do this like a proper weather forecast (don’t worry, we are working on that). However, what we can do is tell you is that law school admissions is in a heavy period of flux: the number of people taking the LSAT as well as the number of people actually applying to law schools is plummeting from highs set during the peak of the recession. In this post we predict the ongoing effects of these trends on law schools and on student’s admissions chances for this application cycle- 2013-2014.

To rank is human. It gives us a way to take detailed and potentially overwhelming information and reduce it to a simple, digestible list. The widely read law blog Above the Law treated us with another sample of these earthly delights recently, with their The ATL Top 50 Law Schools. Showing the good sense that US News lacks, they chose yesterday to further break down their rankings, showing us how the top schools would rank for the individual data points employed in their rankings. Brian Leiter, rankings guru and U Chicago law professor, would surely approve of this step towards transparency.