Times Takes Apart Law School Racket

In a development that should disquiet the swaths of Dartmouth students who look forward to pursuing legal careers, the New York Times has put out yet another devastating piece on the broken nature of modern-day law schools. This article in particular focuses on the broken incentives that lead law schools to constantly raise class sizes and tuition costs despite a massive recession in the legal market.

The usual problems are all out in full force. Although nominally “non-profit,” law schools are frequently cash cows for their associated universities, which has helped lead to tuition increasing by over 300% in the past 20 years. Also at fault are the rankings in U.S. News, whose ranking mechanisms encourage schools to raise their tuition as a straightforward means to prop up their rankings. The result is a situation like that at New York Law School, which charges higher tuition than Harvard despite a below-average ranking and sends out over 500 students a year (a 10% increase over 10 years ago) into a dreadful job market with vast piles of debt.

Articles such as this are grim news for the many students (including dozens out of Dartmouth every year) who see law school as the path to a lucrative career without needing a technical degree. With constantly rising tuition to obtain a degree in a market with few openings, one wonders if there will be any backlash against law schools or if tens of thousands of students will continue to enter law school only to discover that it is a losing game.

–Blake S. Neff