Monday, May 12, 2014
Kelsey Webber (J.D. 2014, Georgetown), Which Law Schools Make Rational Economic Sense to Attend?:
The debate on whether or not it makes rational economic sense to attend law school has grown as the cost of law school tuition continues to rise and the job market for starting lawyers has declined. Legal academics, journalists, bloggers and even law school professors seem split on whether going to law school in the current economic climate is a rational economic decision.
Previous studies have focused on the economic value of a law degree, or whether it is economically rational to attend law school in general. I improve upon previous studies by giving students an exact cutoff point of which law schools make rational economic sense to attend. To make this determination, I use data from the class of 2012 to estimate the cost of attending each law school and the average salary that students from each law school made one year after graduation.
I estimate that if a student pays full sticker price to attend law school, then based on data from the class of 2012 there are only 48 law schools the student could attend and expect to have a positive economic return within 10 years. If a student receives a partial scholarship, there are 80 law schools the student could attend and expect to have a positive economic return within 10 years. If a student receives a full scholarship, there are 139 law schools the student could attend and expect to have a positive economic return within 10 years.
Update: PrawsBlawg: Is Yours One of the 45 Law Schools to Which it is Worth Going: A Look at the Broken Market for Legal Education, by Jennifer Bard (Texas Tech)