I’m going to be on Al Jazeera America (DirecTV 358 or possibly 347) at 7:30 EST tonight discussing the law school mess. Another guest will be Andrew Post, who graduated from USC’s law school at age 21 (he is apparently something of a prodigy as he enrolled in college at 13), incurring more than $215,000 in debt in the process. Post was unable to get a job as a lawyer, so he hung out his own shingle, with predictable results. He is now supporting himself as a full-time computer programmer, while living with his parents. Post reported his annual income as of last fall to be between $80,000 and $96,000, which means of course that he’s an excellent example of how a law degree is worth ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
Over at JD Underground, LGM commenter ichininosan has put together a list of the 20 law schools which have seen the largest percentage declines in the size of their entering classes between 2010 and 2013. I’m reproducing it here along with some marginal comments/predictions:
2010 / 2013 (% Decline):
1. La Verne: 166 / 50 (69.9%)
Lost provisional ABA accreditation three years ago, causing enrollment to crater. Got it back again last year, but has probably suffered a fatal wound.
2. Thomas Cooley: 1583 / 582 (63.2%)
Maybe P.T. Barnum was wrong after all.
3. Hamline: 227 / 88 (61.2%)
It’s just absurd that the Twin Cities have four law schools, when the local legal market can barely support two. Will either close or merge with William Mitchell.
4. Widener-Harr. 178 / 74 (58.4%)
Located in Delaware, but has a random campus in Harrisburg. Could end up illustrating the survival strategy of offloading faculty onto a satellite campus and then letting that branch of the operation go under.
5. Case Western 236 / 100 (57.7%)
6. Saint Louis 334 / 145 (56.6%)
7. Pacific (McGeorge) 346 / 147 (54.6%)
Former faculty home of the most important man in the American legal system. Still teaches in the school’s “Salzburg summer program,” which sounds lovely (The hills are alive with the sound of school loans).
8. Appalachian 127 / 58 (54.3%)
You can rent a pretty nice two-bedroom apartment in Grundy for $300, so this place is probably a better deal than American or Brooklyn.
9. Iowa 203 / 93 (54.2%)
What happens when you refuse to slash admissions standards and your location is not amenable to trustifarian lifestyles.
10. Seton Hall 358 / 165 (53.9%)
just took a 10% across the board pay cut instead of laying off all the untenured tt faculty and rescinded a plan to lay off untenured faculty after enough senior faculty took buyouts (thanks to PaulB for the correction).
11. Golden Gate 320 / 150 (53.1%)
There are way, way too many law schools in the Bay Area.
12. Dayton 207 / 100 (51.7%)
Should have been done long ago.
13. George Mason 303 / 149 (50.8%)
What would Hayek do?
14. Western State 242 / 120 (50.4%)
There are way, way too many . . .
15. New York LS 641 / 322 (49.8%)
Sitting on an entire block of super-prime Tribeca real estate.
16. Liberty 135 / 68 (49.6%)
17. Duquesne 212 / 107 (49.5%)
18. Rutgers-Camden 269 / 140 (48.0%)
Will probably merge with Rutgers-Newark.
19. Florida A&M 288 / 150 (47.9%)
20. Florida Coastal 808 / 441 (45.4%)
There is a passage in the Buddhist sutra on mindfulness called the Nine Cemetery Contemplations. Apprentice monks are instructed to meditate on a series of decomposing bodies in the charnel ground, starting with a body “swollen and blue and festering,” progressing to one “being eaten by…different kinds of worms,” and moving on to a skeleton, “without flesh and blood, held together by the tendons.” The monks were told to keep meditating until they were calm and a smile appeared on their faces. I describe this to Arpad and Ron, explaining that the idea is to come to peace with the transient nature of our bodily existence, to overcome the revulsion and fear. Or something.
We all stare at the man. Arpad swats at flies. “So,” says Ron. “Lunch?”
Mary Roach, Stiff
21. Roger Williams 198 / 111 (43.9%)
22. Tulsa 146 / 83 (43.2%)
23. Ave Maria 203 / 117 (42.4%)
24. Penn State 228 / 132 (41.7%)
25. New Hampshire 132 / 77 (41.7%)