It’s become clear that many college graduates make their decision to go to law school based on apathy, a critical misunderstanding of the legal market, and shocking hubris. As we’ve said many times, the decision to go to law school has become disassociated from the expected value of going to law school.
Prospective law students are flocking to law schools in droves. What’s going on at Duke Law School right now is just the latest evidence. Here’s part of a letter Duke Law sent out to people on its waitlist:
Since our tuition deposit deadline at the end of April, the class has been completely full. Although a few people have requested deferrals or otherwise changed their plans for the fall, we have not yet been able to make any additional offers of admission.
When the reigning champion of our douchiest law school competition is getting inundated with applications, you can see why law schools are quite comfortable charging more and more tuition…
You’ll remember that Duke sports a shiny 100% employed on graduation rate to U.S. News. While we’ve done our best to explain exactly how Duke came up with those “statistics,” it’s clear that wanna-be law students are incapable of doing even the most basic research before they make a life changing decision.
From Duke’s perspective, they’ve got a bunch of kids willing to give to just give them money. In fact, they have too many kids competing for the opportunity to throw federal loan dollars in Duke’s direction. Might as well keep them on the hook for as long as possible. Here’s the great deal Duke is offering to the students on its waitlist:
This has been an unusual year in many respects. The quality and size of our applicant pool (up nearly 25% over last year) was unprecedented, and we waitlisted many strong candidates in the hope that we would be able to admit some of them. Because of the surprisingly strong response to our initial offers of admission, we have been unable to do so.
Because the chances are slim that we will be able to make any additional offers of admission for 2010, we’d like to offer another option for you to consider. That you have remained on our waitlist to this point suggests that you have a strong interest in attending Duke Law. If Duke is your unequivocal top choice, you may convert your current application to a binding Early Decision application for 2011 by submitting this form: [Redacted] If you do so by July 9, you will receive a decision on your 2011 application by July 16. (You may submit the Early Decision form after July 9, but the decision will be made later in the summer.)
That’s kind of like saying: “Now that I’ve gorged myself at this all-you-can-eat buffet, can I have a doggy bag?” Duke, the Sizzler of law schools.
Oh, we kid Duke because it’s a great school with great weather and they’re used to being despised by all decent people. The real scorn should be reserved for the nameless, faceless, brainless masses that are desperate to go to law school even against their own economic self-interest. If demand for legal education keeps up like this, then the cost of legal education will continue to rise. If law schools keep pumping out graduates, then the oversupply of lawyers should keep salaries flat, or deflated.
And since the feedback loop between lawyer salaries and prospective law students appears to be broken, the economics of this profession will continue to be totally screwed up.
Earlier: College Grad Exposes Everything That’s Wrong With 0Ls
NALP 2010: NALP Executive Director James Leipold Talks to the ‘Lost Generation’
The Hubris of Would-Be Lawyers
The Secret to ‘100% Employed at Graduation’: Duke’s Bridge to Practice