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
"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.