This week's Washington Post Magazine has a cover story entitled "Will Law School Students Have Jobs After They Graduate?" There's a rather simple conclusion (spoiler alert!): no. Probably the most damning indictment comes from Paul Campos, who has taught at University of Colorado Law School since 1990: "If the federal government applied any actuarial standards, half the law schools would shut down tomorrow. The whole thing is a basically a giant subsidy machine run for the benefit of legal education."
However, the article investigates some tangential issues that are ripe for discussion:
- Can the cost of legal education come down?
- Can (and should) legal education be reformed to make it a more practical, trade school model in which students acquire hard skills rather than ideas?
- Should students be allowed to borrow the full amount if they have dim prospects careerwise?
- Should taxpayers be responsible for footing the bill if they can't pay off their loans in 25 years? (Under the current income-based repayment system, any amount not paid off by the end of 25 years is "forgiven.")
You can read Campos's year-and-a-half old blog, Inside the Law School Scam, for more of his scathing opinions.