Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Four Law Schools to Shrink Size of 1L Class

At least four law schools -- Albany (from 250 to 230), Creighton (from 155 to 135), Touro (from 280 to 250), Western New England (from 125 to 100) -- have announced plans to shrink their incoming 1L classes.   These schools say their decisions are based on "morality" in light of the declining job prospects for law grads. John Yoo (UC-Berkeley) disagrees:

The decision to reduce the size of a law school class has little to do with morality (though it may have a lot to do with moralizing) and everything to do with economics.  ... As the economy contracts, as it has, the economy's demand for legal services will drop. Fewer students will want to go to law school and will pursue other opportunities.  Not to be an elitist, but it is no surprise that lower ranked law schools will be the first ones which will experience the effects and will reduce the size of their classes, or reduce their tuitions, accordingly.

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There is an argument to be made that these schools are turning away revenue today for the sake of future revenue, via enhanced reputation and results. However, I am not sure it is a good one. Demand is still high and seemingly indifferent to results. There is no indication that this trend wont continue or, even if it doesn't, that these schools would be the beneficiary of "good will" from that trend reversal.

Sorry Mr. Yoo, but some people/institutions actually make decisions for largely benevolent reasons. My guess is that these administrators simply want to be able to sleep well at night. They have more than enough resources to get by, and have decided to maximize their well being not by chasing every last bit of marginal income, but by reconciling their lives with their values. Good for them. Sorry if this does not compute with your amoral view of life.

Posted by: Matt | Jun 22, 2011 7:50:26 AM

John Yoo the torture lawyer commenting on morality? Just goes to show you what life is like if you have no shame.

Posted by: anon | Jun 21, 2011 11:43:19 AM