TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

90% of Recent Grads Say Law School Was Worth It

KaplanKaplan press release:

According to a Kaplan Bar Review survey of over 700 law school graduates from the class of 2012,  the vast majority of tomorrow’s attorneys who collected their JDs give their law schools high marks.  37% of law school graduates gave their law school education an “A” grade, while 53% gave it a “B”.  Only 9% gave their legal education a “C” grade; 1% scored it a “D”.  No respondents gave their law school education an “F”. ...

It’s the toughest job market for new lawyers in nearly 20 years, but the survey finds optimism in the face of adversity.  While 56% of recent law school graduates surveyed said they had not found a job in the legal field yet, 62% expressed confidence that they would find employment within the next three months.

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My law-school education rates an A only because it was basically free. If I had to pay the exorbitant tuition fees of today, it would rate a C, except for first year, which still gets an A.

Posted by: Jimbino | Oct 24, 2012 11:46:58 AM

Ask them in about a month when their loan payments start.

Posted by: Michael | Oct 24, 2012 1:40:58 PM

Stockholm syndrome.

Posted by: Greg | Oct 24, 2012 1:41:56 PM

Probably should wait to ask the law grads this question when they fail the bar exam or are waiting tables? Also, this comes from Kaplan- LSAT and bar exam prep company who sells to the law crowd. Of course law school makes sense to them!

Posted by: Steve | Oct 24, 2012 2:24:44 PM

Get back to them in about 10 years and see if they say the same. Seems like the reality coffee has not kicked in yet.

Posted by: Steven | Oct 24, 2012 3:27:45 PM

Steven says get back to them in about 10 years.

After the JD has pretty much done that (7 years out). And law grads are still a pretty satisfied bunch.

The small number of complainers are disproportionately represented on the blogosphere, probably because the majority are too busy working and enjoying life.

Posted by: Anon | Oct 24, 2012 6:13:29 PM

I am really surprised that no one has raised this issue yet: The question asked "What grade would you give your law school education" is not the headline. It is actually a very different issue than Kaplan's assumption that an "A" for the professors and educational program means the student thinks law school was 'worth it."

I had some great professors, I enjoyed law school, and I still think the school overcharged me and the administrators should be fined and prevented from working in the profession again based on the stats they released in order to pad their own salaries at the expense of future students. I am proud of the profession, and still capable of understanding that certain behaviors should not be tolerated.

Lawyers are trained to catch these kinds of nuances, and the fact that Kaplan would release this false equivalence as a "news item" in order to promote its overpriced service.. well that's rather the problem with the whole system, isn't it?

Posted by: Liz | Oct 24, 2012 10:21:45 PM

The more logical group to survey would be those who are repaying their loans. You can't say that something is "worth it" or not (i.e. do a cost-benefit analysis) with only the benefit (i.e. law school) and no cost (i.e. loan repayment).

Also, you can't compare people who graduated in, say, 2002 to those who graduate today. There is a huge lag time in measuring the effects of skyrocketing tuition, as in, we know that people think that it was worth it to pay about $75,000 for law school and graduate into a relatively stable economy, but that does not tell us whether or not it's worthwhile to take on $200,000 of debt and graduate into a terrible economy. It *should* be obvious to say this, but apparently it's not: we will not know the long-term effects of skyrocketing tuition for many years.

Posted by: bridget | Oct 25, 2012 10:00:11 AM

I'm not terribly surprised- after all- these grads set a goal- graduating law school- and have achieved it. They should feel some pride - happiness.

What they probably didn't say- but feel- is that they now belong to a slightly higher class level.

I was just at a large party where some lawyer friends volunteered "we're lawyers"- way too fast for a normal conversation. No one else was mentioning their jobs careers- and this was an educated group.

Posted by: Mastro | Oct 25, 2012 11:25:58 AM