Student Debts

[L]aw school is a very risky (and expensive) investment; it should not be entered into lightly…. [E]ach potential student’s calculus will be based on a host of factors unique to him or her. For some, like an English major (relatively low opportunity costs) who gets some scholarship assistance (somewhat lower out-of-pocket costs) to attend Harvard Law School (relatively high pay-off), the investment in a legal education is almost surely a no-brainer.

– Professor Herwig Schlunk of Vanderbilt University Law School, in a new working paper entitled “Is a Law Degree a Good Investment Today?”

(Additional excerpts and discussion, plus links, after the jump.)

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How screwed up is legal education these days? One mainstream publication recently published an article suggesting law students should be paid to not go to law school, while the paper of record noted that nobody learns how to be a lawyer in law school anyway.

That’s what it’s come to, folks. Can you imagine Slate, which is owned by the Washington Post, publishing an article suggesting that we should pay M.B.A. candidates to stop going to business school? Can you imagine the New York Times publishing a feature article about how medical students don’t learn anything in medical school?

Welcome to law school, the red-headed stepchild of American professional schools….

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Back in August, we reported on National Jurist’s fifth annual list of the 60 Best Value law schools. The Best Value ranking system takes into account the following criteria: in-state tuition, average student debt, the percentage of graduates employed nine months after graduation, and bar passage rates.

Two months ago, the list was unranked, but the final tallies for the honor roll have now arrived. As in years past, in addition to the rankings, National Jurist has given letter grades to the rest of the schools on the list, ranging from A- to F. Wouldn’t you hate to be a student or an alumnus of a law school with a failing grade?

Check and see if your school made the grade, after the jump….

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Whenever I ask law school deans to explain their BS employment statistics, they just shovel more BS my way.

But maybe if students themselves asked where these figures come from, they’d get some straight answers.

One student, at a law school that at this point is undisclosed, asked her dean why the school’s employment statistics were clearly misleading. And it looks like the dean broke things down for her.

She used the information to tell another story of the 99%….

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The other day, President Obama announced a “new” plan to help ease the burden of student debts, except it wasn’t really new, and it didn’t really help.

The mainstream media parroted the administration’s spin on the proposal, but it makes sense that the White House would want to find some students who were also excited about the plan to reduce the Income Based Repayment percentage to 10% in 2012.

Well, they found one. And he’s a law student.

President Obama is tweeting about this new support….

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Here at Above the Law, it seems like we complain about the American Bar Association on an almost daily basis. But you know what? It’s Friday, so we’re going to cut the ABA some slack.

We’re a little tardy to the party on this one, but today we have some news for law students that could possibly put some money into their pockets, all courtesy of the ABA.

Shocking, right? Law students, you’ll want to take part in this sweepstakes, but act fast, because it all comes to an end on Halloween….

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Make a law that for every student graduating from law school, he replaces an existing lawyer. That existing lawyer is then sent to an island to make dog bonnets and leg warmers. In a way, it’s a lottery designed to dissuade people from wanting to be lawyers, and increase the quality of our nation’s dog bonnets and leg warmers.

Greg Gutfeld, host of Fox News Channel’s The Five, proposing a solution to the nation’s law student debt woes.

I was looking for a picture of a hooker, but hopefully this ass will do.

* A tipster says: “The worst thing about the Blackberry outage was having to admit to your clients that you still use a Blackberry.” [Venture Beat]

* Two words: donkey hooker. [The Legal Satyricon]

* Glenn Reynolds has, like, the answer to how we should handle student debts in bankruptcy. [Instapundit via The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Coming after Walmart, round 2. [ABC News]

* The rule of twos for legal staffing. [What About Clients?]

* Is criminal justice equal justice? [Underdog]

* Look, which foreign official do we have to bribe to get our jobs back? [This Week in FCPA]

President Barack Obama really thinks recent graduates are stupid. Seriously, he thinks that graduates out there suffering under crushing debt obligations in an economy where there aren’t enough jobs to go around are so dumb that they don’t even know what they want.

Educational debt has been a big part of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Today, President Obama will announce “new” programs to help students in debt. At least, he wants the media to report these programs as “new.” Those who have been paying attention, such as debt-saddled law students, will recognize that there is very little “new” about these programs.

In fact, Obama seems to honestly think that students and recent graduates wouldn’t be so angry if they knew about all the programs already in place.

It’s all a bit patronizing. If the Obama administration had really been paying attention, they’d know that recent graduates want meaningful reform, not the piecemeal incremental efforts that we’ve seen so far….

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Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), come on down! Okay, I’m sure Senator Coburn wouldn’t put it this way, but you can count him as the latest Senate member who has joined the fight for something that the Occupy Wall Street people should really care about. He wants there to be more transparency when it comes to American law schools.

First, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) led the charge to try to get law schools to engage in some basic honesty when telling prospective students about the value of a law degree. Then Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) added his voice. That was important, as Grassley is the Republican leader on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

And now Coburn, another Republican on the Judiciary Committee, is joining in.

Democrats, Republicans, men, women, when will the ABA figure out that there will be broad support for law schools that are required to tell the truth about their graduate outcomes?

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