Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Simkovic: Does The Wall Street Journal Have An Axe To Grind Against Law Schools?

Following up on yesterday's post, WSJ: Law School Loses Luster As Debts Mount And Salaries Stagnate:  Michael Simkovic (USC), Wall Street Journal Blames Law Schools For COVID Economy:

In 2010 to 2013, the Wall Street Journal effectively blamed law schools for the economic fallout of the financial crisis and the Great Recession.  In particular, the recession caused a large reduction in employment which hit young and inexperienced workers across the economy. ... 

During this time period, law graduates continued to perform relatively well compared their same age cohorts facing the same economy. Law graduates were less likely to be unemployed, were more likely to be employed, earned significantly more money, and had lower student loan default rates. ...

The WSJ is resuming its less-than-stellar economic reporting, with another out-of-context broadside against higher education, and law schools in particular.

Like the 2007 to 2009 recession before it, COVID triggered a large decline in employment. And younger, less experienced workers were again hit hard. ...

During this period, law graduates and other highly educated workers have faired relatively well, at least judging from the imperfect data that is currently available (see also here and here). Lawyers continue to earn high salaries, their employment numbers have not appreciably declined, and unemployment rates in legal occupations, at 3 percent, are lower than in most fields.   ...


... The WSJ's a-contextual critique of law schools might lead readers to wonder whether the WSJ has an axe to grind against law schools or is talking the book of private student lenders.

Lenders have repeatedly acknowledged that graduate students such as law students are among their most profitable customers.  Private lenders have been eager to pry these customers away from federal lending programs by lobbying to make those programs less generous and by subsidizing think tanks that generate misleading analysis about the supposed fiscal dangers of these programs.

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