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Noam Scheiber has an excellent piece in the Times on the changing economics of legal education at low-ranked law schools, which combine high tuition with poor bar passage rates and dismal job outcomes for large numbers of their graduates.

Scheiber spent several days at Valparaiso’s law school, talking to students and faculty, and he places the school’s struggles within the larger context of the declining demand for lawyers. He reveals that last fall the university was considering closing the law school, but decided to downsize instead:

In February, Valparaiso announced it was offering buyouts to tenured professors. As of May, 14 of 36 full-time faculty members had either accepted the package or retired. The law school plans to reduce its student body by roughly one-third over the next few years, from about 450 today.

Valpo has already shrunk from 566 JD students in 2010 to 433 last fall. By my calculation net tuition revenue for the school fell from about $19.4 million to $13.3 million over that time.

Over the last few years, all but a handful of the most elite law schools have had to engage in some combination of reducing class size, cutting admission standards, and cutting effective tuition (sticker minus discounts). Valpo has done all three. The school cut admissions standards drastically three years ago, with its median LSAT dropping from the school’s historical 150 range to an astonishing 143. The last two entering classes have compiled 50th/25th LSAT percentiles of 145/142 and 145/141.

These scores all but guarantee that the school will be unable to come anywhere close to meeting the new ABA requirement that 75% of a school’s graduates who take the bar pass it within two years of graduation. (Valpo’s bar passage rates have already dipped far below that figure, and that’s before the “beneficiaries” of the school’s new quasi-open enrollment policy have even taken the bar. The entering class of 2013 will begin to do so next month).

As for tuition, in constant dollar terms Valpo has maintained sticker tuition at about $40,000 (2016$) for about five years now, while the percentage of the class paying sticker has fallen from a little under three quarters to a little over half.

When we spoke, I emphasized to Scheiber that Valpo’s historical journey from a modest but respectable regional law school that didn’t cost much to attend to an institution with something resembling Harvard Law School’s financial structure (minus HLS’s two billion dollar endowment of course) is a completely standard one in the context of American legal education.

In the fall of 2015, Valpo was charging what Harvard was charging its students in 2007 (if you adjust for inflation, Valpo’s current tuition matches Harvard’s in 2002). No law school charged $40,000 in tuition a decade ago: now the vast majority of private law schools — and quite a few public ones — charge that and far more.

Here’s the average tuition at private ABA law schools over time: (All figures have been adjusted to constant 2016 dollars):

1956: $4,178

1974: $11,232

1985: $16,803

1995: $26,480

2005: $35,550

2015: $45,123

The result of this trajectory is that the average Valpo graduate now graduates with about $150,000 in law school debt alone (this figure doesn’t include other educational debt, consumer debt etc.). Indeed the average Valpo Law School graduate has more law school debt than the average Harvard Law School graduate, because while the average debt incurred by HLS graduates with debt is about 15% higher, only 72% of 2015 HLS grads had any law school debt at all, while the comparable figure for Valpo was 94%. (That 28% of HLS grads have no law school debt is strictly an expression of the fact that a whole lot of rich kids go to HLS, since maximum need-based aid to HLS still requires the student to pay about $45,000 per year in tuition and living expenses).

But while almost any HLS grad who wants a big firm job with a six-figure starting salary can get one, the percentage of Valpo grads who can get such jobs — the only jobs which offer reasonable prospects that $150,000+ in educational debt is actually going to get paid off — is essentially zero. Indeed less than half of Valpo’s 2015 graduating class had any legal job ten months after graduation, and three out of every ten graduates were flat-out unemployed. Scheiber poses the most relevant question all this raises quite directly:

Given the tectonic shifts in the legal landscape, the relevant issue may not be how much law schools like Valparaiso should shrink. Today the more important question is whether they should exist at all.

I’ll address that question, along with the question of how law schools managed to end up increasing their tuition by a factor of ten in real terms, in another post.

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  • Costs aside, how does it help the legal profession if, after the dust settles, it is left with a handful of elite schools?

    • Crusty

      I don’t think it matters one way or the other. The profession has done various things to eff itself up and fewer schools will do little to change that.

    • JM

      There are 14 elite schools. There are probably north of 150 accredited law schools. We could lose half of them, and still not be close to the problem you are citing.

      • NewishLawyer

        200 ABA accredited schools or so.

      • Crusty

        I think of it regionally- each regional market should draw from the t-14, the top regional school in the area, and the one for people who didn’t get into the other one in the area. This means that in New York, hiring will draw on the t-14 (two of which are located in New York), Fordham for the non-t14 crowd. And then Brooklyn, Cardozo, Hofstra, St. John’s, New York Law School, CUNY and Touro can fight to the death for the last spot.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          “And then Brooklyn, Cardozo, Hofstra, St. John’s, New York Law School, CUNY and Touro can fight to the death for the last spot.”

          PPV? It could really perk up non-tuition income for those schools.

          • 4 out of the 7 on that list are free standing, with no university affiliation. I’d add Albany to the list, and I’d give St. John’s and Fordham the opportunity to “merge”.

            What you have on this list are schools that existed for a long time for the purpose of providing the opportunity for a legal career for lower middle class/working class persons. A cop or an insurance adjuster or a public college graduate could afford to go to Brooklyn or Hofstra, maybe part-time after the first year, and then hang out a shingle on Court Street or in Massapequa. The valedictorian from St. John’s might get lucky and spend some time toiling in the antitrust department at Dewey Ballantine before going in-house somewhere. The top 10% might find themselves doing something at a federal agency, and the rest of the law review board would find work in a DA’s office or the like. All perfectly cromulent careers, that pretty much don’t exist any more, or, to the extent that they do exist cannot sustain a person with six figures of non-dischargable debt.

            • BoredJD

              You could even just go work at your company. I recently met a former AGC of a mid-size investment bank who started out in operations. His firm sent him to one of the local schools back when they were $1000 and then hired him on as a securities counsel afterwards until he retired.

        • twbb

          CUNY shouldn’t close; it’s not unreasonable for New York to have two public law schools (and it’s especially not unreasonable for New York City to have one).

          Though as a CUNY graduate (undergrad, not law) I have a great deal of affection for the system, so maybe I’m biased.

          • Crusty

            The thing about CUNY law school is that I gather that in the past it was not well funded and didn’t exist til recently. Actually, the google machine tells me it was founded in 1983. New York City should have a public law school, but for several generations before the tuition became too damn high, people that went to Brooklyn College and Queens College (public institutions) would go to places like Brooklyn Law School, New York Law School (public sounding, but private) or St. JOhn’s. Maybe the state should take over Brooklyn Law School so that the state school would still have generations of alumni who remember dear old Brooklyn and went on to do things in the profession.

            • BoredJD

              State control of law schools would be a great way to solve the problem: they could limit class size at each “branch,” and slowly phase out the “I deserve high salaries and low teaching loads to compensate me for not making SEVEN-FIGURE SALARIES in biglaw” crowd, without pissing off alumni by closing the school outright. Albany Law School, Brooklyn, and Hofstra would be good candidates for this.

    • Nobdy

      Nobody wants that or thinks that should happen. However the state of Pennsylvania l has, I believe, 7 law schools in addition to U Penn. It doesn’t need that many. One public in Philadelphia, one public in Pittsburgh, and maybe one more school to serve the rest of the state would be fine in addition to its elite school. That removes the need for four of those schools.

      Only elite schools would be bad. Elite schools plus about half or two thirds of others would be good.

      And the non elite schools should be much cheaper.

      • And the non elite schools should be much cheaper.

        Yes. We don’t more $40K schools cranking out corporate six-figure wannabes. We need more $15-20k schools teaching good law to those who want to do good things without being buried in debt.

        • CSI

          Even $15k-$20k is too much. Most schools should be charging about $10k tuition per year.

      • Unemployed_Northeastern

        Wait, Pennsylvania only has the same number of law schools as Massachusetts? Woah. We have like half of PA’s population.

    • NewishLawyer

      Probably more. The article mentioned that only 10 percent of dental schools closed down during the dental collapse of the 1970s and 80s. IIRC some of those schools were elite, Georgetown shut down their dental program.

      My guess is that you might see more mid-tier schools shut down than lower ranked ones.

      One impression I got from the article that there will always be super-optimistic people with strong Dunning-Krueger effects that want to go to school for X and probably should not go to school for X. We don’t exactly have the mechanisms to stop this from happening in the U.S.

      • Nobdy

        Uhhh, you are familiar with med school, right? Lots of people who want to be doctors don’t get in.

        • NewishLawyer

          How many of these end up at schools in the Carribean?

          • notahack

            None of those Caribbean students get residency positions. The smarter ones go to DO schools, and even DO students are starting to feel the squeeze.

            • Crusty

              Not correct at all.

        • Crusty

          How many of those end up going to law school?

        • LeeEsq

          Thats because the AMA is guild.

        • PaulB

          The least selective MD program in the US accepted less than one-fifth of its applicants.

    • Quaino

      How does it hurt the legal profession to cull schools that do nothing but produce people who can’t become lawyers while also putting them into massive debt?

  • JM

    This article did a nice job, but it still failed to capture how dire the situation is for the individual students it covered. The journalist painted them as if they have a glimmer of hope. Two married middle aged recent grads (with child) from a third tier school and well over $200k in combined debt that are embarking on starting two solo practices are in about as dire a financial situation as it gets in this world. Their practices have no hope of success. None. They will be out of the profession within 2 years, never to return.

    Likewise, the 2x bar failer with the retail job will never be an attorney. She will never pass the bar, and if she did, where would she find a job? Yet, the author seems to think it might somehow be possible anyway.

    • Nobdy

      The article says they have half a million in combined debt. Doesn’t change your point but makes it a bit more dire.

      And newspaper articles don’t tend to like to say of nice people who agreed to be interviewed “they are self-delusional fools who have no shot at good lives.” It’s not good for circulation or future interviews with subjects who might look you up before agreeing to talk.

    • efc

      I feel terrible for that girl. If she was only admitted to Valparaiso and Charlotte school of law then she must have had abysmal LSAT scores. It was probably evident from her LSAT and college grades she most likely was never going to pass the bar exam. But schools still took her money. Our money really because she will never pay off those loans unless she wins the actual lottery. Disgusting.

  • Crusty

    “But while almost any HLS grad who wants a big firm job with a six-figure starting salary can get one, the percentage of Valpo grads who can get such jobs — the only jobs which offer reasonable prospects that $150,000+ in educational debt is actually going to get paid off — is essentially zero.”

    I see two aspects to this problem. First, the tuition and attendant debt loads are too damn high. Second though, is a problem with the profession- what some call bimodal distribution, or what I’ll call the death of the middle or you’re fucked if you don’t win the lottery.

    Anyway, here’s what I’m getting at with the death of the middle. Imagine someone goes to Valpo law school. They want to be a lawyer in Indiana. They aren’t necessarily going to law school to help others, but neither are they motivated by greed. They don’t dream of being a 26 year old driving around in a shiny new beamer (bimmer?). They’re entering a career that they know requires some hard work. Their aspirations include things like one day living in the part of town with the “good” schools and one day having a new Honda Accord. Their hope is not to finish first in the class, edit the law review, get a federal clerkship and then go razzle dazzle the big boys in New York, Chicago or D.C. Rather, they want to get a decent job at a firm in Indiana. It won’t pay 180K or 160K, but maybe it pays say, 80K, 70K or 55K at first and there’s the possibility of raises each year, at least in the beginning. And maybe this is all helped by the debt load somehow being 75K instead of 150K. The firm that pays this isn’t an “international” firm with hundreds of lawyers, offices all over the globe and major financial institutions for clients. But it is a place that isn’t worried about keeping the lights on tomorrow- at least not in an immediate sense. It has local and regional clients, businesses and individuals, who are sensitive to price, but not shopping only on price. Anyway, the problem is, that as far as I can tell, these sorts of firms (and clients) have disappeared. Maybe not completely, but this used to be the type of place that lots of people worked. And now, hardly anyone will ever find a job there. The situation isn’t helped by an over-saturation of law schools. The place I describe above will hire more grads from Indiana U than Valpo. But still, that these places are gone, for various reasons, seems to me to be a big deal.

    • Nobdy

      The middle is dying in a lot of industries and professions. It is a huge national problem but not necessarily specific to law.

      • Crusty

        Yes, that’s probably true and its a big problem everywhere.

    • yet_another_lawyer

      These firms exist, but they can afford to recruit primarily from biglaw burnouts who are willing to accept much less money to live in a cheaper region and work fewer hours. They are, in some sense, actually more selective than biglaw because they can be. There’s not much reason for them to recruit associates fresh out of law school. Much, much cheaper to just let biglaw spend two-six years training them, then poach.

      • Crusty

        Yup. But there are still less of them than there used to be.

    • NewishLawyer

      It seems to me that Mr. Acosta might eventually make it to the middle.

      One of the things I have trouble with in these articles is that it assumes what is true today is going to exist forever and nothing changes. Now I have these fears and anxieties too and things can change for the worse.

      But I also need to believe that things can and do get better at least for the sake of my own psychological health and well-being.

      I don’t know what I am supposed to do when I read articles like the Times one or Campos posts? Accept my fate? Wail in despair> Break up with my girlfriend and move to Modesto or Humboldt where I might be a bigger fish and the Cost of Living is cheaper?

      FWIW, the firm I worked at before was unpleasant in many respects but they were completely unsnobby when it came to where you went to law school.

      • Crusty

        Who is Mr. Acosta?

        • NewishLawyer

          The guy in the article and I probably misspelled his name.

      • Linnaeus

        To be fair, though, it’s the job of the journalist to tell us how things are, and sometimes that means hearing things that are hard to hear.

        I don’t know what I am supposed to do when I read articles like the Times one or Campos posts? Accept my fate? Wail in despair>

        I empathize with this reaction, as one who has trained for a profession that has faced similar structural problems for many years now. So I’ve had to recalibrate my hopes and my goals in light of new information and changing conditions. That means, among other things, that it is very unlikely that I will be what I thought I would be when I started all this. Sure, there’s always a chance that that could change, but based on the information I have available to me now, that’s a change small enough that I can’t plan my future on that expectation. I’ve made my peace with that (as an aside, it may end up being better for me anyway). It wasn’t always easy to do that, but I had to do it for the sake of my own mental and physical well-being. That’s life sometimes.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        I don’t know what I am supposed to do when I read articles like the Times one or Campos posts? Accept my fate? Wail in despair> Break up with my girlfriend and move to Modesto or Humboldt where I might be a bigger fish and the Cost of Living is cheaper?

        Start practicing the question “Would you like fries with that?”

        • Crusty

          Thank you for your thoughtful contribution to the discussion.

        • NewishLawyer

          :/

      • Crusty

        “One of the things I have trouble with in these articles is that it assumes what is true today is going to exist forever and nothing changes. Now I have these fears and anxieties too and things can change for the worse.”

        I think things like housing costs, childcare costs, health ins costs, education costs, etc., are more likely to change than the legal profession itself (or at least more rapidly than the legal profession changes) so in that sense, there is hope that things can get better, you just don’t know what direction the positive change is going to come from.

        • NewishLawyer

          Isn’t this the whole argument of the Austrian school? If prices go down by 30 percent and your income goes down by 15 percent, you still come out a winner?

    • MyNameIsZweig

      (bimmer?)

      Not this, unless it should be pronounced like “dimmer,” “glimmer” or “shimmer.”

  • yet_another_lawyer

    Didn’t anybody tell these graduates that a law degree, any law degree, is worth at least a million dollars? After $200,000 in debt, that’s still a net worth of $800,000 right there.

    • Crusty

      I explained it to the mortgage loan officer at my local bank the other day, but he didn’t seem to get it so I assigned him some reading. Haven’t heard back from him. Strange.

      • Hallen

        It’s dark and vaguely insulting, but the truth can be those things. I did doc review for three years in SC, moved to PA, and have been completely unable to land a similar gig, so now I work for fifteen cents over the minimum wage at a fast food restaurant.

        We don’t have fries, though. He was wrong about that!

    • Unemployed_Northeastern

      That study has already been mentioned in the TaxProf comments to this story as *proof* that the article is wrong.

      • JCougar

        Those people’s logical reasoning skills are proof that doing extremely well in the bullshit curriculum of even the nation’s most elite law schools means very close to nothing about your intellect.

  • Nobdy

    Paul, I think you leave out something important when talking about how elite biglaw jobs are the only chance someone at Harvard has of paying off their law school debt.

    LIPP, the low income protection program. A Harvard student who takes a public interest job or any law job that doesn’t pay well (or enters a PhD program) gets help from the school to pay loans, beyond IBR. And unlike IBR you can go onto and off LIPP during your career without penalty and it doesn’t result in a tax bomb after the ten years it lasts.

    Harvard provides a lot of its financial aid through this program, and it is one of the big excuses it makes to students about its sky high tuition. You’ll only have to pay it back if you make big money.

    LIPP is another way the elite are treated better and a key part of the Harvard tuition puzzle that gets left out at schools with lower endowments (though I think Yale, naturally, does something similar.)

    • jdkbrown

      And unlike IBR you can go onto and off LIPP during your career without penalty and it doesn’t result in a tax bomb after the ten years it lasts.

      According to the Department of Education, amounts forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgivenes program (the one that kicks in after ten years) are not taxable:

      Note that loan amounts forgiven under the PSLF Program are not considered income by the Internal Revenue Service. Therefore, you will not have to pay federal income tax on the amount of your Direct Loans that is forgiven after you have made the 120 qualifying payments.

      • Nobdy

        Yes there is no tax bomb through the public service program but that has to be 10 years of public service (no mixing and matching) and of course relies on the Republicans not wiping out the program.

        LIPP not only covers more employment but allows for partial payment. If you are on LIPP for five years you will have made five years of loan payments and if you then find a higher paying job you have reduced loans. Under PSLF your loans may have actually increased because of interest. It is just a much more flexible system.

        • Unemployed_Northeastern

          Or on Democrats, for that matter. Though it is likely too late in his presidency to do anything, Obama has floated the notion in past years of limiting PSLF forgiveness to $57,500 (the maximum an independent undergrad can borrow in federal student loans), with the rest getting moved onto IBR or PAYE, depending on one’s eligibility. Granted, this was no doubt a conciliatory measure to save PSLF from Republicans who wanted to axe it altogether, but still.

          • Cassiodorus

            That’s awful. At that point it’s only aiding people who don’t really need it.

    • NewishLawyer

      A good observation.

      One of the big issues in the United States is that we have a seemingly invincible puritanical/Calvinist streak that really does seem to believe in zero-sum economics and gives all the spoils to the top.

      Companies like LinkedIn and Netflix get praised for stuff like unlimited vacation time and paternity leave but those companies only employ the top graduates of top schools generally. If you don’t work for a top firm or company, it is your fault and you have to take shitty maternity leave policies:

      http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/06/16/american_parents_are_the_least_happy_parents_in_the_western_world_surprise.html

  • NewishLawyer

    My alma mater went from having a 75 percent first time pass rate (typical for ABA schools in California) to having a 62 percent pass rate on the Feb 2016 California Bar. The passage rate for California has been going lower and lower since I graduated. My guess is that I was one of the last classes admitted before admission standards were cut.

    I am also one of the lucky ones in many ways. I haven’t really experienced horror stories yet just heard about them. Even when I have done doc review, my hourly has been between 29-40 an hour. Not great but not horrible.

    Yet it doesn’t always feel lucky. Getting interviews has been somewhat easier but I am still five years out without depo experience and that has to hurt me.

  • GC of Baltimore Opera Hat Co.

    On the whole this article explains well the problems that a low (or non) ranked law school and its graduates will face. One thing missing was the amount of money transferred by the law school to the central administration either currently or historically. Since Valpo is a religiously affiliated school with a low enrollment and small endowment, the law school has long served as a financial lifeline for the rest of the university. The implications for shutting down the school and its effect upon the university at large should have been explored since I suspect that Valpo is hardly alone in its reliance upon what has been a cash cow to keep itself afloat.

  • efc

    My school went from my July ’10 exam cohort having a 95% pass rate on the GA bar to f’ing 76.9% in July 2015! The GA bar, not CA or NY or somewhere tough. My year so few people failed we could make a pretty good guess at who they were because it was like, 4 people (a lot of the kids were taking the NY or FL bar so it wasn’t the entire class doing GA). July 2015 it would have been impossible to make that kind of guess because almost a quarter failed! And this is a school that is ostensibly a top 25 law school (for what it’s worth).

  • BoredJD

    My hope for the endgame would be that the T14/17 continue to exist, some (including my alma mater) with lower class sizes, although there is really no incentive for them to lower class sizes aside from staying one slot ahead of their nearest competitor in USNWR. Every state will then have a state law school (or 2 depending on the state) that is between 10-15K a year to attend in tuition before scholarships. Certain large metro areas will need to have additional private law schools to meet demand, but these schools should be relatively well-established and more importantly should be competing to charge prices similar to the state schools, not the current system where state schools are forced to compete with rich privates on price because of the need to hire shinier and shinier personnel.

    How we get there is anyone’s guess. In the NYC metro area alone, closing any of the schools is going to be impossible – even NYLS, Touro, and Hofstra have wildly successful alumni, some of whom will pay to keep the schools open. I can see an escalating war of donations that last years, with the schools trying to ride out the New Normal and hoping it gets back to 2006-2007 applicant levels.

    I see two reasonable possibilities for school closures (1) if the ABA eventually gets around to kicking out the large for-profits based on low bar passage, (2) central administrations at relatively young law schools shutting them down if they cannot manage to solicit angel donations. Of course, if the federal government takes even a tiny step towards capping Gradplus loans the whole system goes to shit but I do not see that happening even in a Drumpf administration.

    • Crusty

      “How we get there is anyone’s guess. In the NYC metro area alone, closing any of the schools is going to be impossible – even NYLS, Touro, and Hofstra have wildly successful alumni, some of whom will pay to keep the schools open.”

      Are there really alums that wealthy with that level of dedication to the cause? I know there are plenty of rich people from any school, but a) enough wealth to fund a law school and b) anyone gives a shit about funding a law school?

      I’m guessing Touro could close without anyone making either too much of a fuss or an effort to save it with their own money.

      • BoredJD

        There are even non-alums with that kind of money who want to give it to law schools – look at the number of eight figure donations to law schools over the past five years.

        And numerically, there are a lot of lawyers (biglaw, plaintiff’s bar, and even in business) who graduated from those schools. It only takes a handful who are willing to fight for “their” school.

        • Crusty

          “And numerically, there are a lot of lawyers (biglaw, plaintiff’s bar, and even in business) who graduated from those schools.”

          They are slowly dying off.

      • NewishLawyer

        To take different examples, we can look at Santa Clara and USF.

        Both were well-respected regional law schools until relatively recently. USF used to supply the Bar and Bench of San Francisco (and the Bay Area) for most of the 20th century. USF was well respected enough to get people into the major Bay Area firms. Maybe not MoFo but certainly into Brobeck and Heller Ehrman before those firms went bust.

        USF’s reputation took a nose-dive that started sometime in 2005 and has continued since. In 2005, USF was ranked around 77 by US News and World Report. By 2011, they were just holding a spot in the top 100. Now they are unranked.

        There are still a lot of local lawyers from USF who have strong feelings about the school and donate money. I know people who graduated USF, are not practicing law, and are still interested in improving the reputation of the school.

    • JM

      Makes a lot of sense, except I disagree that every state needs a law school. I’d say keep the T30(ish) as the national schools and provide for about another 30 flagship state schools. Maybe a smattering of lower level private schools in there to keep opportunities open for those aware of and willing to take the risk.

  • yupyup

    Steve Diamond went on a twitter deluge smackdown of this article. Everyone set the record straight.

    • Morse Code for J

      I don’t know his Twitter handle, but when I searched for “Steve Diamond,” I got a professional magician and a life coach as the top two hits. Maybe people with that name are cursed to shill and misdirect for money?

    • Unemployed_Northeastern

      Actually, the NYT reporter is schooling Diamond on Twitter. Pretty funny stuff, actually.

      • Enzo Gorlomi

        UNE,
        Didn’t you read the announcement about Professor Diamond’s protege Professor Simkovic being up for the John Bates Clark Medal?? These 2 probably harbor grand delusions about crashing the ASSA meetings and teaching actual economists about their flawed methodologies, like Costanza teaching Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter how to hit.

      • Barry_D

        linky-link, please?

  • MacK

    Keeping alumni from having a meltdown is one reason why a lot of schools may chose to go the merger – disguised closure route. But there needs to be a crosstown or nearby rival that credibly can merge with the school – William Mitchell and Hamlne were geographically close and near enough in rank and admissions criteria that it could be pulled off. Philadelphia strikes me as a city with a few of these possibilities.

    Washington DC oddly does not (despite having effectively 8 law schools.) I don’t expect Georgetown and GW to need to, while AU is too lowly regarded for a merger to be credible with GULC or GW. Culturally, it’s hard to see Catholic merging with AU (Catholic, used to be Methodist) though that seems the most realistic. Howard and Catholic in a way seems more feasible – UDC, yikes. George Mason is effectively in DC (it’s just across the river in Va)? University of Maryland is in Baltimore and is a state school.

    by the way, in many respects UVa is in the DC market for jobs.

    • Crusty

      Georgetwon is t-14 and not part of the discussion, but there’s no way that DC needs GW, Catholic and American.

      • MacK

        Need, schmeed,

        I’m not discussing need, but who’ll survive, who’ll merge. GW is doing just well enough and is in a large enough market for graduates to survive – and its numbers for matriculation are decent. The rest are in very tough shape.

  • AMK

    The real problem is also the more basic jobs problem that feeds undergrads into the law school scam in the first place. So many people get sucked into high debt, low prospect law schools (ie the majority of law schools at this point) not because they want to go, but because they feel they have no alternative. You should be able to get a solid middle-class job with a half-respectable undergrad degree, and the fact that so many people feel the need to turn to “ValpoLaw” or increasingly exotic, expensive grad programs in order to have a shot is an indictment of much more than law school.

    • Hallen

      Right on. The only reason I went to law school in the first place was because my piece of shit, Loomis-approved history degree qualified me to do the exact same jobs I had when I started college.

      Not that vast numbers of grads in every field aren’t hurting in the new world.

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