Three times this calendar year, David Segal of the New York Times has commanded the front page of the Sunday business section with an exposé of the business of law schools. First, he assailed the economic rationality of anyone electing to study law. Then came his attack on the use of deceptive scholarship awards to attract students and boost rankings. Now comes a more comprehensive broadside against the economics of law school admissions:
Legal diplomas have such allure that law schools have been able to jack up tuition four times faster than the soaring cost of college. And many law schools have added students to their incoming classes — a step that, for them, means almost pure profits — even during the worst recession in the legal profession’s history.Meanwhile, David Leonhardt of the Times writes that the Great Recession refuses to ease into a renewed cycle of job growth because nothing has emerged to replace the economic model of consumer spending and easy debt that fueled the collapse in the first place.
The task of discerning the validity of these critiques and, if appropriate, applying the lessons learned to the project of reforming legal education is left as an exercise for the reader.