TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Brooks: Legal Education, Legal Services, And Income-Contingent Loans

John R. Brooks (Georgetown), Curing the Cost Disease: Legal Education, Legal Services, and the Role of Income-Contingent Loans, 68 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2019):

The costs of both legal education and legal services have been rising steadily for decades. This is because they share a common root: the constant above-inflation growth in the cost of labor-intensive goods and services known as the “cost disease.”

Brooks 2

The cost disease story roots cost growth not in market failure or bureaucratic waste, but in natural, even healthy, economic forces—productivity and wage growth. Because the source of this cost growth is productivity growth, the nature of the cost disease is such that an economy as a whole can afford these rising costs. But in a world of deep income inequality, the costs must be socialized, to be shared collectively. In this article for a symposium on financing legal education, I argue that the Income-Driven Repayment program for student loans is a mechanism for partially socializing the costs of both legal education and legal services, while still maintaining the vital independence of both law schools and the bar. I also take a critical look at the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, counter-intuitively arguing that it has serious flaws in its goal of serving the broader public interest.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2018/10/brooks-legal-education-legal-services-and-income-contingent-loansstrong.html

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Comments

"I argue that the Income-Driven Repayment program for student loans is a mechanism for partially socializing the costs of both legal education and legal services"

How's that now? I don't recall law school picking up part of the tab. Oh, you mean that the general public gets to also eat part of the cost of running law schools? I'm sure that messaging will go over nicely. Really, is it any wonder the GOP wants to get rid of GradPLUS and effectively nullify IBR plans? One might recall back in 2014 or 2015 there was a bipartisan Senate proposal to change the default rate to a repayment rate (i.e. is the principal declining from year to year) and making higher ed institutions pay for a portion of all of their students' balances that aren't declining. Surely this is the sort of socialized cost structure you would applaud? No?

"I also take a critical look at the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, counter-intuitively arguing that it has serious flaws in its goal of serving the broader public interest."

Like only 0.3% of filers this year actually getting PSLF to work...

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Oct 18, 2018 1:40:21 PM