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Scenes from the new gilded age, law school edition

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Five years ago this month I gave a talk to about 100 Stanford Law School students, with a professor or three in the audience as well.  Among other things I talked about how super-elite law schools like Stanford were having an invidious effect on the economics of legal education by continually jacking up their revenues and operating costs at a dizzying rate. In an era of idiotic college ranking systems, the super-elites were playing a key role in driving a destructive fiscal arms race, which was doing great damage to the vast majority of law students, who attend schools where most students don’t get elite legal jobs, or in many cases legal jobs at all.

Why not cut your tuition in half I suggested? (Also, what’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding etc?).  The students all thought this was a grand idea, and several talked to me subsequently about how they might organize to petition the administration.

30 years ago I remember reading in Bill James’s annual abstract that there were days in his professional life when he felt like he was making no progress.  That observation was triggered by the selection of Andre Dawson as the National League’s most valuable player in 1987.  (According to today’s analytic methods, Dawson wasn’t even one of the top 20 players in the league that year, but even in those simpler sabermetric times the selection was obviously absurd.  The pick of George Bell over Alan Trammell over in the junior circuit was nearly as bad.)

Anyway back to our regularly scheduled programming:

Stanford Law School Revenues

 

Stanford’s revenues have gone up 29% in real terms in the last five years alone, at a time when yuuge numbers of law schools are drowning in red ink, after decades of trying to keep up with the Kardashians.  And the thing is, I just know the powers that be in Palo Alto (not only at the law school of course) are positively proud of themselves at how modestly they’ve raised tuition, given how much more they’re spending:

Stanford law school tuition

I may break this stuff down in more detail in a future post, if the world hasn’t blown up by then, and/or I haven’t drunk myself insensible.

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