New York Times letters to the editor responding to the New York Times editorial on the law school crisis:
Blake Morant (President, AALS; Dean, George Washington), Kellye Testy (President-Elect, AALS; Dean, University of Washington) & Judith Areen (Executive Director, AALS; former Dean, Georgetown):
The New York Times fails to make its case on law school debt. Law students borrow more than undergrads, but most are able to repay, and do. The graduate student default rate is 7 percent versus 22 percent for undergrads.
Scott DeVito (Dean, Florida Coastal):
Your editorial referring to Florida Coastal School of Law paints a picture that is not supported by the facts.
The majority of our students pass the bar, and the vast majority of our alumni have successful careers in law. In February 2015 we had a 75 percent first-time bar pass rate, third best out of 11 law schools in the state, and an institutional ultimate pass rate of 87 percent.
Michelle Anderson (Dean, CUNY):
Law schools have a responsibility to provide an excellent education at an affordable price. High debt cannot be allowed to coerce young attorneys toward only the most remunerative legal practice.
As we have seen with so many graduates of CUNY School of Law, serving low- and moderate-income individuals can form the basis of a deeply rewarding career and a meaningful life.
Matthew DIller (Dean, Fordham):
[Your editorial] suggests that a “majority” of America’s more than 200 A.B.A.-approved law schools are behaving unscrupulously by charging high tuition and saddling graduates with unmanageable debt. In fact, data shows that law school graduates have lower default rates than other professional degree holders — and a law degree continues to be a sound investment over the course of a career.
Debra Raskin (President, New York City Bar Association):
Your editorial correctly notes the astronomical debt and diminishing job prospects facing most law school graduates today. While that is a problem requiring multifaceted solutions, there is a relatively simple step that could modestly increase law students’ income while giving them opportunities to obtain valuable training for a future job. ...
[A] third-year law student can work for a government or nonprofit law office (to which the wage law does not apply) and receive academic credit, but the law student cannot receive credit for the same work for a private legal employer, since the student must be paid in order for the employer to avoid the high risk of costly litigation. The A.B.A. should lift this outmoded prohibition.
David Stern (Executive Director, Equal Justice Works)
I disagree with your editorial, which characterizes law schools as overcharging students and taking advantage of federal loans. Yes, law schools (like medical schools) are too expensive and the model under which they are constructed is being rethought, but the editorial overlooks a few important points. ...
Unfortunately, there are proposals in Congress to cap or eliminate Public Service Loan Forgiveness. It is critical to preserve this program to ensure that people can perform a vital public service without being blocked by their debt.
Update #1: Above the Law, Law School Deans Whine About The New York Times Calling Out Their Debt Scam
Update #2: Leichter Critiques Responses By AALS, Law School Deans To New York Times Editorial On The Law School Crisis
(Hat Tip: Brian Leiter.) Prior TaxProf Blog posts: