We’ve followed the story of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School of Law (f.k.a. Southern New England School of Law) ever since its inception. Southern New England was a private, unaccredited law school that was acquired by UMass to become the first public law school in Massachusetts.
I’ve been critical of UMass Law, because there was no evidence whatsoever that Massachusetts needed another law school. I’ve been dismissive of the people who have said, “No no no, Massachusetts needs a public law school,” because even though the word “public” connotes something that is good for everybody, I struggle to see how paying $24,178 per year to go to an unaccredited law school helps anybody.
But now it looks like UMass will receive ABA accreditation. I can’t wait to see what they’ll do with their tuition next….
The ABA Committee on Accreditation has recommended that UMass receive provisional ABA approval. You can read the chancellor’s full letter about it on the next page.
For some reason, a number of UMass law students seem to think this proves something important. At least, I’m guessing that’s how they feel based on their emails to me. Emails like:
SUCK IT MYSTTTAL. We’re going to be accredited.
I guess all your hard work disparaging our school did NOT pay off. LMAO
And the wholly nonsensical:
When we receive accreditation will you write a post about how you were wrong and UMass is a great law school?
Yes, because getting accreditation immediately vaults you from “random law school most people think is located in New Hampshire” to “great.”
Look, I have nothing against UMass Law (or any law school… except that one law school), but if you think that spending $75K over three years to go to law school is a good deal, you are out to lunch. UMass is running around talking about how it’s serving the people of Massachusetts by providing an “affordable” option for legal education. But I contend that $25K a year (That’s in-state. Out of state tuition is $31,870, and if you pay that much money to go to UMass, you are a rank idiot) is not affordable. Sure, it’s cheaper than the patently ridiculous prices other area law schools charge (and I’ll note that there are more law schools in Massachusetts than there are attractive, classy women who speak with a normal human accent and most likely won’t stab you). But just because it costs less doesn’t make it “affordable.”
And the bitch of it is that gaining accreditation, if they get it, will only make it worse. I’d bet all the money in my pocket that UMass raises tuition soon after receiving accreditation. And it’s a mortal lock that more students will want to go the school if it becomes ABA accredited.
So the band plays on. If UMass Law is accredited, it will retroactively make things better for everybody who is already at the school. They’ll look like they have a diploma from an accredited law school, but they’ll only have paid unaccredited prices.
But ye Gods, won’t the next set of students have to pay for this success.
Check out the chancellor’s full memo on the next page….