Law Professors’ Letter on the Economics of Legal Education

by Ed Whelan

It’s not very often that I have occasion to say anything favorable about a group of law professors, so I’ll go out of my way to commend this letter that some 60+ law professors have sent to the ABA Task Force on Legal Education expressing their concerns about the economics of legal education and floating possible changes. These excerpts might be of interest to anyone thinking about going to law school:

The price of legal education has risen as the job market for lawyers has declined. More than two out of every five 2011graduates did not obtain a full-time long-term job requiring a law degree; the median starting salary of the class, among the less than half of graduates for whom a salary was reported,was $60,000. The problematic economics are captured by this fundamental mismatch: a graduate who earns the median salary cannot afford to make the monthly loan payments on the average debt.…

The federal government estimates that, at current graduation rates, the economy will create about one new legal job for every two law school graduates over the next decade. Most knowledgeable observers believe that the situation is unlikely to improve even if the economy fully rebounds. More employers are relying on paralegals, technology and contract attorneys to do work previously performed by recent graduates, and cash-strapped public sector agencies are facing pressure to curtail legal  expenditures.

H/t Orin Kerr (one of the signatories).

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