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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Paul Campos, Deborah Rhode on the Law School Crisis: Should Stanford Reduce Tuition by 30%?

Paul Campos (Colorado) and Deborah Rhode (Stanford) discuss the law school crisis at Stanford Law School (video in five parts below).  Campos suggested that Stanford "immediately reduce tuition for its JD students by 30%, i.e., to around $33,000 per year. (This would reduce tuition to where it was, in nominal terms, in 2004)."

Update:  Above the Law, How Stanford Law School Could Cut Tuition and Save the World

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Paul Campos's advice to law schools: Commit ritual suicide.

First he says Stanford should cut tuition to gain an edge over Harvard and Yale. Then he correctly points out that Harvard and Yale would immediately cut their tuition to match Stanford. So Stanford would gain absolutely nothing, and all of the law schools would be worse off.

The first mover in this game is the first loser.

That's quite some business advice Campos is giving the law schools.

I think I've got a bridge in Brooklyn I would like to sell him.

Posted by: Anon | Mar 7, 2012 2:13:05 PM

Someone on another site, I think it may have been the other one Campos is associated with, offered the example of Mount Holyoke, which thought to do the same thing Campos is suggesting: make themselves leaders by cutting tuition and keeping it lower than the tuition at peer institutions.The result? According to the poster, applications to the school fell. Prospective students were confused. They were expecting a high end product. Discounting indicated that it was not so high end. When they raised tuition-- built fancy new buildings and gyms and the like--applications rose again.

Posted by: BH | Mar 8, 2012 8:00:44 AM

It looks like neither of the previous commenters understand. Campos was not suggesting that any school cut their tuition by 30%, but that Stanford specifically do so. Stanford can take the hit both in terms of lost revenue and in terms of whatever "prestige" they'll lose by not costing the same as other law schools. In fact, Campos estimates that Stanford would lose no prestige at all by doing this, and would then have a decisive recruiting advantage over Harvard and Yale, forcing them to follow suit.

And eventually, Mount Holyoke will be forced to follow suit as well. It probably won't hurt their prestige, since the are copying the prestigious schools. It might put them out of business, but that's ok.

Posted by: Fred Smith | Mar 8, 2012 4:07:04 PM

Never mind, I cannot confirm what the commenter on Lawyers, Guns and Money said about Holyoke.

Posted by: BH | Mar 9, 2012 5:21:59 AM

It is a sad world we live in when folk evidently think that Mount Holyoke - one of the top Seven Sisters and liberal arts colleges in the country - isn't prestigious. Does everyone believe "Yale or fail" these days?

Posted by: Long-Term Unemployed Attorney | Mar 10, 2012 7:26:30 AM

I think it is unquestionably prestigious.

Posted by: BH | Mar 10, 2012 12:51:30 PM