Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Following up on my previous post, 87% of Students Say Online-Only Legal Ed Is Overpriced; 61% May Reconsider Legal Career Or Take A Hiatus If Law Schools Cannot Be On Ground Due To COVID-19: Richard K. Vedder (Ohio University), Is a Law School Meltdown Coming?:
We need lawyers, and lots of them, to enforce the rules and laws that allow for a prosperous, orderly society.
Enter Covid-19 and the possibility that law schools will forgo in-class legal education this fall. Already Harvard Law has said its fall courses are going to be taught remotely. How does this impact law students facing tuition and other fees often in the $50,000 range or even more? The apparent answer, based on a survey of 1,651 law students: “considerably.” ...
I suspect most law schools are going to realize the implications of this survey and push hard to reopen next fall, particularly as mounting evidence exists that younger people seem to be far less likely to be lethally impacted by the novel coronavirus than older adults. The health arguments against live instruction may be seriously overstated. Law schools have enormous fixed costs and are mostly exceedingly tuition-dependent. Even with risks, the live show must go on for most of them or, in a few cases, they literally may die.
A comment from a friend and former student who is entering law school this fall, however, provides a small element of optimism: “I am actually salivating at the prospect that 30% of my peers would consider a career change....When I go to sell my labor on the job market after I finish school, fewer other prospects would play into my favor.” Maybe others will think the same thing, so actual enrollment declines come fall will actually be less than currently anticipated. As with the rest of higher education, this fall is critical.