Monday, February 15, 2016
Law Deans on Legal Education Blog: On the Cost of Legal Education, by Rick Bales (Dean, Ohio Northern):
Why is the cost of attending law school high relative to lawyer starting salaries, and rising relative to inflation? Here are three reasons that the scambloggers never seem to mention.
The first is Baumol’s Cost Disease. ... The second is increased reporting requirements. ... The third factor contributing to higher costs is that faculty (and decanal) salaries are influenced by the anomalous bi-modal wage distribution of starting salaries for lawyers. As this chart makes clear, lawyer salaries follow more-or-less a normal bell curve in the $45,000-85,000 range, then spike strongly in the $155,000-165,000 range. The problem for law schools is that many of the faculty we want to hire (especially the folks who can teach corporate, tax, and estate planning law) are in that right-hand spike, and to attract them we need to be at least in-the-ballpark competitive. Even so, although law faculty may earn modestly more than the average (mean, median) starting salary of a practicing lawyer, they earn far less than the lawyers on the bigfirm partnership track.