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Monday, November 26, 2012

Vermont Law School to Downsize, Offer Buyouts to Staff; Faculty May Be Next

Vermont LogoBoston Globe:  Vt. Law School Cutting Jobs, Preparing for Changes:

Vermont Law School is offering voluntary buyouts to staff and may do so soon with faculty as it prepares for what its president and dean says are revolutions about to sweep both the legal profession and higher education.

A sharp drop in the numbers of Americans applying to law schools -- triggered by a drop in the number of legal jobs open -- already is being felt at the independent law school’s bucolic campus on the south bank of the White River.

The class due to graduate in the spring with juris doctor degrees numbers just over 200. The class that will follow it in 2014 numbers about 150.

"When our enrollment goes down, we have to downsize," Marc Mihaly, the school’s president and dean, said in an interview. "No matter what, we’re going to see fewer on-campus JD students (traditional law students pursuing juris doctor degrees). And we have to adjust to that because we do not run deficits in this school." ...

Both Mihaly and Paul Campos, a leading critic of legal education and law professor at the University of Colorado, said some law schools likely will have to close. Campos argued that many have allowed their tuitions to rise so much that law school no longer is a wise investment for most students.

Campos scoffed at VLS advertising itself as the place to go for people who want to work in public-interest environmental law. Just a tiny percentage of lawyers end up in such jobs, he said. "You might as well say your career aspiration is to be an NBA power forward," he said.

Update:  National Law Journal, New Vermont Law School Dean Taking on $3.3M Budget Shortfall

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"Campos scoffed at VLS advertising itself as the place to go for people who want to work in public-interest environmental law. Just a tiny percentage of lawyers end up in such jobs, he said. "You might as well say your career aspiration is to be an NBA power forward," he said."

Ouch- that will leave a mark

Posted by: Lord Whorfin | Nov 26, 2012 5:24:08 AM

Why not just borrow money and hire more teachers?? It's the right thing to do.

Posted by: moron | Nov 26, 2012 5:32:21 AM

Central banking gives us an exaggerated business cycle, school loans and subsidies introduce the business cycle to education. School, say hello to business cycle. Business cycle, say hello to school.

Posted by: teapartydoc | Nov 26, 2012 5:50:20 AM

Hmm....Voluntary Buyouts...sort of guarantees the most useless professors will be the only ones left teaching.

Anyway, Vermont is beautiful state. Also, it the epicenter of smart people using their wealth created from the free market to frustrate others from using the free market. Step out of the touristy Vermont, and you will find poverty (And making poverty illegal actually doesn't end it).

A law school that prides itself in breeding well-intentioned advocates of poverty-inducing frustrations, now finds that one of its anti-capitalist bombs blew up in its own basement.

But I doubt they will make the connection. And I doubt when they ask for more subsidies, nor will anyone else.

Posted by: Anthony E. Parent, Esq. | Nov 26, 2012 6:06:42 AM

Notice the words "on-campus". Whatever the need for lawyers is, will or will not be, people are realizing that they do not have to gamble major $$$$s that they don't have on a career they can't be sure will pay them enough to return the loan. I never went to law school but I hear it isn't a whole lot of fun either. So far on-line options have managed to keep prices per credit as high as on campus programs. But that's changing. Colleges and Universities are against the tide of course, but since they've become breeding grounds for intolerance, no longer teach people "how to think", their demise might produce a more educaed workforce in the true sense

Posted by: Janet Wineglass | Nov 26, 2012 6:36:12 AM

Actually, Vermont has one of the lowest poverty rates in the country.

Poverty is disproportionately clustered in free market Republican strongholds like Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, Kentucky, West Virginia, Arizona, and South Carolina.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 26, 2012 7:29:41 AM

Yeah, sorry Anon, but I'm calling BS. I'll see your Wikipedia and cite you The Census Bureau:

"Poverty. Despite its substantial government spending programs, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation, with 23.5% of its population counted as poor, according to a new Census Bureau measure of poverty, which tries to better account for taxes, government benefit programs, cost of living differences, and other factors. The poverty rate in Texas is 16.5%." Read More At IBD:

Here is the information straight from the Census Bureau page:

Using three-year averages (2009-2011), the U.S. poverty rate was 15.8 percent using the supplemental poverty measure and 15.0 percent using the official measure. However, the picture in individual states varied considerably.

There are 15 states or equivalents for which the supplemental rates were higher than the official statewide poverty rates: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Virginia.

For another 26 states, supplemental rates were lower than the official statewide poverty rates: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Rates in the remaining 10 states were not statistically different using the two measures.

Posted by: AnotherAnon | Nov 26, 2012 9:27:50 AM

Vermont Law School, by the numbers

Tuition (3 yrs): $130,404
USNWR Rank: #119

Percent Not Working: 16.6%
Percent Working Part-Time: 13.2%

Percent at 50+ Law Firms: 3.4%
Percent in Fed. Clerkship: 1.1%

Close to a third of the class can't find work (of any kind, not just legal); less than five percent of the class have what could be considered good outcomes; all paid enough tuition to buy a nice starter home in Vermont. Surprising a school like that is struggling.

Posted by: VLS | Nov 27, 2012 9:08:26 PM