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Money for nothing


debtors prison

I have a piece in Salon on the law school side of the student debt fiasco.

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  • mike in dc

    Debt relief would be nice, of course, but what I’d really like is a semi-decent perm full-time lawyer gig. If they can spend billions to create jobs for construction workers, maybe they could create a subsidized program providing affordable legal services to the 85% of the population that can’t currently afford it(not just the poor, either; the middle class is the greatest underserved demographic, legally speaking).

    • sam

      I think it would be better to continue the current system, under which lawyers who already have jobs provide a few minutes of legal advice a week to a few selected pro bono clients, then receive awards from the bar association at the end of the year.

  • James E Powell

    The law schools and universities are following the rule of corporate behavior that says if you can make money from an action you do it. All other considerations or values are subordinated, in effect, ignored.

    A review of recent history shows that nearly all American institutions and people approve of this rule, follow this rule, and expect others to follow this rule. So why should we expect law schools and universities to be different?

    • Auguste

      For one thing, because they’re invariably relying on federal money to do it.

      • James E Powell

        And that changes things how?

        • R Johnston

          Seriously? You can’t figure that one out?

          Universities can only charge what they do because of federal backing/issuing of student loans. You so the math.

          • Spud

            Not really true. The tuition hikes are more of a function of the availability of private usurious lenders than federal money.

            Federal money is limited per student. The rates and terms are reasonable. But virtually no students can actually use that money to cover their entire tuition.

            Its the private loans where the Law Schools really rake in the dough. The amounts and the ridiculousness of the loan terms are unlimited in scope. This is a perfect example of predatory lending based bubble spurred on by “the market forces”.

          • Barry

            I think that he means that plenty of corporations suck down vast sums of government money, and (to the extent possible with good lawyers, lobbyists and pet politicians) do what they please.

        • BigHank53

          As some pesky group of voters keeps reminding us, that’s not a bottomless well. At some point the tap may get turned off, after which a great many law schools go splat! when the invisible hand shoves them off an entirely visible cliff.

  • But chicks for free, right?

  • Don Winkler

    Approximately half of the 45,000 people who will graduate this year from ABA-accredited law schools will never find jobs as lawyers.

    This statement tells you right up front that the Law School Business (Yes, indeed, it’s a business)is overbuilt.

    There are, apparently, too many law schools for the market.

    Conservative Answer: “Don’t build any more law schools”.

    Liberal Answer: “Let’s find a way to subsidize, support and grow the law school business. Who cares about the taxpayers?”

    • Malaclypse

      Shorter JenBob: Who the hell is Paul Campos?

      • I’m not sure, but looking at his graduation date at UM Law I’m wondering if he used to hang out in the law library with Ann Coulter. ;-)

        • Paul Campos

          If anyone cares, Ann Coulter acted exactly the same way when she was an anonymous law student as she did later as the most infamous pundette. So if it’s an act it’s a long running one.

    • That’s pretty much… entirely wrong. When I look at conservative blogs addressing the law school issue, they often take a “lets blow the doors off” approach, not a restrictive approach, reducing accreditation requirements, offering alternative paths to entering practice, etc. – where are you looking that you’re seeing conservatives argue for stopping the construction (and presumably expansion) of additional law schools?

      As for the notion that “liberals” are responding by suggesting that we subsidize law school, did you actually have an example – even one – of a “liberal” taking that position? Straw manning can be fun, but at some point you should try to relate your argument to the facts.

    • Spud

      DonJenBob, have you actually attended law school? Your comment reads like you are just blowing smoke out of your ass. You seem to have absolutely no clue on the subject and are spouting partisan assumptions.

  • dp

    So, whatcha think about some Ohio State football player spurning the NFL for law school?

    Me, I think it’s evidence that he’s already suffering from post-concussion disorder.

    • R Johnston

      Going to law school is a much better bet when you know you have a decent job coming out, such as when your dad owns and operates a successful firm.

  • Xenos

    Back in the 19th century Harvard Law School would not admit you if you could not prove that you had the means to get through the program without needing to get a job to support yourself. This is not because a student needed to give law school their undivided attention, but because it was thought unethical to take someone’s money who did not have the wealth and social connections needed to get a job upon graduation.

    That and the snobbery, of course, but given the economic conditions of the time, which a similar to those today, the public justification made sense.

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  • Great list, very interesting especially the one on the Manifesto which sparked something. Thanks for the good advices.

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