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Monday, August 12, 2013

Is Florida Coastal the Canary in the Law School Coal Mine?

Florida CoastalFollowing up on last month's post, Has Florida Coastal Just Fired 20% of its Law Faculty?:  Paul Campos (Colorado) reports that in the wake of a 60% projected enrollment decrease since 2010, "the administration approached 14 faculty members with the following offer: accept a severance package in return for your “voluntary” resignation, or be fired via a formal reduction in force. Apparently, 12 of the 14 faculty members accepted this offer. Two others did not, and are planning to sue the school."

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The linked story mentions that some professors feel bad about what they are involved in --relying on their law students borrowing $150,000 -- but feel trapped by their own financial needs. This I am sure has been the case at many schools for years. The half-truths by which law schools and universities saddle their students with huge debts stink and have stunk to high heaven. They are reducing students to lifetime serfdom, and their argument is, "we have no choice, we have to pay our mortgages."

That is no argument at all. It's worthy of no respect. It's proof of deep corruption.

Posted by: Lowellguy | Aug 12, 2013 1:07:39 PM

"saddle their students with huge debts...reducing [them] to lifetime serfdom." Yes, indeed. My brother graduated from Ohio State University with a law degree - and $150K in debt. He is able only to make the barest of minimum payments (under a plan that is virtually in perpetuity). That monthly payment? $720. This has been his plight for the last 15 years.

Posted by: Basil Duke | Aug 12, 2013 1:48:25 PM

May I ask where Florida Coastal School of Law stands on the US News and World Report rank list?

As in, are they needed at all?

Not to be harsh, but in a free market some businesses occasionally fail completely. If the demand for law school is down (too-high debt combined with too-poor job prospects for the would-be students), something has to happen to the supply.

The question for society is this: is it better for all the law schools, even the first and second tier schools, to accept a haircut or would it be better long term to close schools at the bottom of the list (however you wish to define that) completely?

Posted by: Steve White | Aug 12, 2013 1:58:39 PM

and lack of ethics

Posted by: nofreelunch | Aug 12, 2013 2:18:16 PM

Since over 2/3 of all the lawyers in the world are here in the USA I'd guess we could afford a few less grads.

Posted by: Fred17 | Aug 12, 2013 4:21:37 PM

"It's not my fault. Somebody else would sell them drugs, it's not my problem that I'm the guy who sold it to them. Besides, I've got my own habit to support." Pattern fraud is still fraud, even if you have to stand up in front of young skulls full of mush and purport to teach them the legal trade to commit it.

Posted by: curmudgeoninchief | Aug 12, 2013 5:32:09 PM

No one forces anyone to go to law school, and no one forces anyone to borrow the tuition. There are too many law schools because there are too many people who want to be lawyers. This is America. If people want to go to law school, and borrow the money to do it, even when the job prospects are bleak, they are free to do exactly that. Maybe you would be more comfortable in a Communist country where the government determines what career you will have based on the needs of the community at the time.

Posted by: Esquire | Aug 15, 2013 1:04:48 PM

Florida Coastal is a great place to go to law school. I think the school is reacting well to changing market conditions; and I hope it takes the lead in innovative law school curricula. Legal education is not going to die, although there are apparently a lot of unemployed law school graduates who would like to see that happen. And law schools are not to blame for the fact that the market for those graduates is not very good right now. What is needed is change, not this morbid fascination with law school failures.

Posted by: Lawman | Aug 16, 2013 4:47:38 PM