TaxProf Blog

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

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Deans' Perspectives on the Law School Crisis

Boston College Dean Vincent D. Rougeau, Four Ways to Fix Law School (USA Today op-ed):

  1. Create more partnerships with employers to transition recent law graduates into practice
  2. Establish academic programs to better prepare graduates for the workforce
  3. Educate students about the realities of law school before they apply
  4. Reflect the realities of an integrated global economic environment

Uncertain times tend to be the incubators of innovation and opportunity. It can be reassuring to cling to ideas and structures from the past, even when they are no longer suited to the realities of the world in which we now live. But American legal education is at a critical moment, and those of us who run law schools have important choices to make. If we are nimble and strategic, we can be that much more certain that American law schools will remain at the forefront of providing one of the most rigorous, sought-after and rewarding experiences in higher education.

Denver Dean Martin J. Katz, Why Now is the Time to Apply to Denver Law:

Considering law school? It’s an excellent time to take that leap – at least in Denver, Colorado.

  1. Myth #1: Unemployment rates for lawyers are high.
    Fact #1: Unemployment rates for lawyers are extremely low compared to other fields.
    Reality: A JD is one of the most powerful degrees available for finding a job.
  2. Myth #2: There are not enough law jobs.
    Fact #2: The Denver legal market is likely to produce enough jobs for our graduates.
    Reality: Employment numbers are promising for those entering the Denver legal market beginning in 2016. The time to enroll in law school is now. The place to enroll is Denver Law.
  3. Myth #3: Salaries earned by recent law graduates do not justify the cost of law school.
    Fact #3: Law salaries are likely to make law school a solid economic investment.
    Reality: When it comes to a career in law, as Forbes says, the significant, “lifelong returns justify the investment for the vast majority of applicants.”
  4. Myth #4: Law schools do not prepare graduates for the practice of law.
    Fact #4: Denver Law prepares its graduates to be client-ready by the time they graduate.
    Reality: With an innovative curriculum, small classes, and strong ties to the Denver legal community, Denver Law does an excellent job of preparing its graduates for practice.

As evidenced by this list, we’re into myth busting at Denver Law. And we have the numbers and facts to back it all up. Explore our website to learn more, or feel free to contact our Admissions office with any questions. Come visit. It won’t take long for you to see what sets us apart from other law schools—and why there’s no better time than the present to make an investment in a Denver Law degree.

Loyola-Chicago Dean David Yellen, The Dean’s Office: An Introduction:

I do believe there is a crisis, and I am quite sympathetic to many of the critiques of legal education that you read on ATL and elsewhere. The thoughtful critics have helped to force us to shake off any lethargy about our environment. On the other hand, many of the most inflammatory things said about legal education and those who work in it are, in my view, exaggerated and often inaccurate. Most law schools deans, faculty, and staff I know work hard, believe in what they do, care very much about students, and are trying to find ways to improve legal education. Most law students are pretty happy with their law school experience, as reflected in the results from the Law School Survey of Student Engagement. Much legal scholarship and other work by law professors make an important contribution to the pursuit of knowledge and justice.

Vermont Law School Dean Marc Mihaly, Response to New York Times Story:

I would like to share some thoughts regarding today's story in the New York Times. It repeats what we have been saying at Vermont Law School for months: all law schools should get smaller. VLS is doing it sooner than many and with intentionality so we can concentrate on our future-making an excellent school even better.

Vermont Law School is being more public about this process than most schools. That is why the media has and probably will continue to include VLS in these stories, so it is important to understand what we are really doing.

We aim to get smaller on a voluntary basis. Almost all of the recent staff reductions have occurred voluntarily. Vermont Law School has been smaller in the past, and we expect it may get somewhat smaller again. Many believe that a smaller school provides more personal attention to students.

For very different perspectices, see:

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