Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Law School -- Is It Worth It?

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.

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