Crain's Chicago Business, Northwestern, Loyola Law Schools Eye Cutting Class Size:
Northwestern University's law school, one of the top programs in the country, is considering shrinking its class size because of the continuing job crisis in the legal industry.
Although there is no timetable for a decision, law school Dean Daniel Rodriguez says he is “taking a very close look at (whether) we are the right size for the education program we have.” The school graduated 300 students with juris doctorates this year. Loyola University Chicago, which just graduated 274 J.D. students, is also examining the idea of “a modest shrink” to its size, says David Yellen, dean of its law school. ...
Chicago's major law schools awarded more than 1,500 juris doctorates this spring. DePaul had the largest class with 368, and the University of Chicago class was the smallest at 214.
Shrinking the class isn't a simple task. Fewer students mean less revenue, and without offsetting that loss through fundraising, that can mean reducing faculty expenses or raising tuition.
Law school loans translate into a “roughly $1,000-a-month payment,” Loyola's Mr. Yellen says. “If you are unemployed or underemployed, that's a significant burden.”
Still, not everyone sees a reason to change.
“People want to go to our school, and why should we say no?” says John Corkery, dean of John Marshall Law School. “There are people who really want to go to law school because that is how they want to spend their lives.”
Mike Schill, dean of the U of C's law school, is OK with his school's enrollment as well.
“The demand is incredibly robust for our students,” he says. “Many firms cannot hire enough of our graduates. The vast majority of our students are going to be snapped up. We don't need to do anything drastic.”
Daniel Rodriguez (Dean, Northwestern), Changing Up the Playbook:
As this Crain’s article reports, we are giving serious consideration to adjusting our class size to meet the realities of the new legal economy. ... My friend, Dean Mike Schill at U. Chicago, is quoted in a way that suggests that he believes that all is completely well at his excellent law school. While he is as enthusiastic and bullish about the conditions of his fine law school as I am of mine, I am confident that Dean Schill understands that no law school — no matter its place in the grand pecking order of schools — is impervious to the changes in the legal economy. We ignore these changes at our peril.
Indeed, I would look at the subject at hand from a very different vantage point: It is precisely because we at Chicago and Northwestern (and other “elite” law schools) are so successful at placing our students in lucrative, important places in the hierarchy of jobs, that we have the special responsibility, and resources closer at hand than do others, to play a leadership role in concocting and implementing change.
Paul Campos (Colorado), Just Say No Jobs:
I can't leave this subject without highlighting this choice apercu from John Marshall's dean:
"Despite the employment crisis] not everyone sees a reason to change. “People want to go to our school, and why should we say no?” says John Corkery, dean of John Marshall Law School. “There are people who really want to go to law school because that is how they want to spend their lives.”
You know what kids these days also want to do, Dean Corkery? Meth!