UM Law school.jpgThe University of Miami Law School of Law has decided to give their admitted students a preview of what it’s really like to be a lawyer in today’s market. Dean Patricia White sent around this letter to the school’s admitted students:

Every year our Admissions Office uses our past experience with acceptance rates to decide how many students to admit. In these economically troubled times past experience has turned out to be a poor guide. An unprecedented percentage of applicants admitted to the University of Miami Law School have accepted our offer. This will give us a larger than optimal first-year class. Accordingly we are offering an incentive to defer admission until Fall 2010. If you wish to take advantage of this offer you must notify us by e-mail [Redacted] or facsimile [Redacted] by July 10, 2009.

Don’t get too down about the recession. We still have enough time to build an immense fallout shelter in the soft limestone cliffs of Missouri. Of course, they’ll have to be some sort of lottery.
After the jump, the UM Law School dean is pretty honest about what is going on with its new admits.


I’ve often wondered what the class of 2012 is thinking. Apparently, that gives me something in common with Dean White:

While I would like to believe that this year’s elevated acceptance rate reflects the great sense of excitement about the Law School and its future that led me to become its new Dean, I fear that some of it may be related to the shortage of jobs in the current economy. Perhaps many of you are looking to law school as a safe harbor in which you can wait out the current economic storm.
If this describes your motivation for going to law school I urge you to think hard about your plans and to consider deferring enrollment. Law school requires an enormous investment of work, energy, time, and money. It is very demanding intellectually and emotionally. Beyond this, in these uncertain and challenging times the nature of the legal profession is in great flux. It is very difficult to predict what the employment landscape for young lawyers will be in May 2012 and thereafter.

Listen to this woman. Look at what you are putting into law school: “investment,” “time,” “money.” Look at what you are getting out of it: “uncertain,” “challenging,” “flux.” Going to law school is not a golden ticket to the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of secure employment.
The opportunity to change your mind about going to law school at all could be enough of an incentive for 2012 admitted students. But Miami Law is offering a few things to encourage rising 1Ls to defer for a year:

* Guaranteed $5,000 Public Interest Deferral Scholarship when completing 120 hours of public service. This scholarship would be in addition to any other scholarship award you may receive (not to exceed the cost of tuition).
* Increase your likelihood of selection for a $75,000 Miami Scholars Scholarship award ($25,000 each year for 3 years). This is a scholarship designed to encourage and reward public service.
* If qualified, be among the first group considered for all 2010 scholarships (see offer details).
* Apply your entire $300 seat deposit to Fall 2010, rather than receiving only a partial refund and forfeiting the balance.

What, you were expecting $80,000?
Is this our first official indication that the class of 2012 is just as screwed as the classes of 2009, 2010, and 2011? How many nervous 1Ls will be showing up on law school campuses next year?
Read the full memo below.
UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI LAW SCHOOL — MEMO — DEFERRAL OPTIONS
Every year our Admissions Office uses our past experience with acceptance rates to decide how many students to admit. In these economically troubled times past experience has turned out to be a poor guide. An unprecedented percentage of applicants admitted to the University of Miami Law School have accepted our offer. This will give us a larger than optimal first-year class. Accordingly we are offering an incentive to defer admission until Fall 2010. If you wish to take advantage of this offer you must notify us by e-mail [Redacted] or facsimile [Redacted] by July 10, 2009.
While I would like to believe that this year’s elevated acceptance rate reflects the great sense of excitement about the Law School and its future that led me to become its new Dean, I fear that some of it may be related to the shortage of jobs in the current economy. Perhaps many of you are looking to law school as a safe harbor in which you can wait out the current economic storm.
If this describes your motivation for going to law school I urge you to think hard about your plans and to consider deferring enrollment. Law school requires an enormous investment of work, energy, time, and money. It is very demanding intellectually and emotionally. Beyond this, in these uncertain and challenging times the nature of the legal profession is in great flux. It is very difficult to predict what the employment landscape for young lawyers will be in May 2012 and thereafter.
If you are choosing to join us this Fall because you are strongly committed to the study of law we welcome you with open arms and promise to do our best to provide you with an exceptional and challenging educational experience. But if you are approaching law school with ambivalence or the thought that it will be a safe haven, perhaps you should take a year to decide whether it is the best choice for you.
To encourage this we are offering incentives to admitted students to defer admission until Fall 2010. The basic idea is that we will give you a $5000 Public Interest Deferral Scholarship for the 2010-11 academic year if you defer starting law school until August 2010. There is one additional condition: performing and documenting 120 hours of public service by June 1, 2010. This requirement reflects the commitment to public service we try to instill in all our students.
The following are the benefits of taking advantage of this unique offer and deferring your enrollment to Fall 2010:
* Guaranteed $5,000 Public Interest Deferral Scholarship when completing 120 hours of public service. This scholarship would be in addition to any other scholarship award you may receive (not to exceed the cost of tuition).
* Increase your likelihood of selection for a $75,000 Miami Scholars Scholarship award ($25,000 each year for 3 years). This is a scholarship designed to encourage and reward public service.
* If qualified, be among the first group considered for all 2010 scholarships (see offer details).
* Apply your entire $300 seat deposit to Fall 2010, rather than receiving only a partial refund and forfeiting the balance.
For further important details about this offer, click here.
If you would like to defer your admission to Fall 2010, please contact us by e-mail or facsimile [Redacted] by July 10th. If you have questions, please contact the Office of Admissions [Redacted].
I am delighted that the University of Miami is your law school of choice. I am very excited about its future and hope to welcome you either this August or next.
Warm regards,
Trish White
Dean Designate
Public Interest Deferral Scholarship – Offer Details [University of Miami Law School]
Earlier: Cravath Offers Voluntary Deferral to Class of 2009 — and Delays Class of 2010 a Full Year


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