Monday, October 8, 2012
A tax law professor and a law school dean are proposing two remedies for what ails law schools.
University of California at Hastings law dean Frank Wu sees the problem as large class sizes. Law schools should have cut class sizes long ago, he writes in the Huffington Post. “Or at a minimum, we ought to have done our part to set realistic expectations.” Wu notes his announcement earlier this year that his law school would cut new admissions by 20%. ...
TaxProf Blog author Paul Caron notes Wu’s article and points out that UC Hastings increased tuition for state residents by 15% at the same time it cut class size. Tuition for 2012-13 is now more than $46,000, compared to $20,900 in 2004-05, Caron says.
Caron suggests another solution in an article for Pepperdine Law. Law schools, he says, should follow the lead of Jimmy McMillan, the New York gubernatorial candidate whose slogan was “the rent is too damn high.” Most law schools that are shrinking class sizes are also increasing tuition to make up for lost revenue, Caron says. “Saddling even a smaller number of students with increased debt is not an acceptable solution,” he writes.
Law school is twice as expensive as 20 years ago in inflation adjusted dollars, Caron says, yet no one would argue that legal education is twice as good. “Law school tuition is simply too damn high. Administrators and faculty need to ruthlessly examine law school budgets and cut areas that are not essential to the school’s mission,” he writes.