A recent ABA Journal article reports that only 22,000 people took the LSAT in February, an all-time low since 2001. Similarly, the total number of people who took the test in June, October, December, and February dropped by 16%. The article further claims that the low LSAT numbers encouraged a stall in the rise of private law school tuition, but is it enough and will it last? Many see this as a pop in the law school bubble.
A few questions: Is a 1% increase still too much? Will law tuitions ever start dropping? As a NYT article suggests, this change in tuition increases partly has been caused by a change in perception over the payout of going to law school.
Further, the NYT article includes predictions from the University of Alabama that the schools at the bottom of the food chain will suffer most, but not for another few years when bar passage rates lower (as it correlates these rates with low LSAT scores, though perhaps the relationship here ignores a few other factors).
Does this mean that current law students and recent graduates will have better job prospects and career paths? Does it mean that established laws schools can stop worrying about new law schools popping up? Were those worries unfounded considering the Apples and Oranges nature of the types of jobs that the elite schools targeted versus the newly minted ones?
Two issues not discussed in the Law Tuition Bubble bubble:
1. If tuition continues to rise even just 1% yet continues to average around $50,000-60,000 for private schools, is that going to be sustainable for students and law schools in the long run?
2. Does it seem a bit odd that for instance, in NC, about 80% of impoverished populations (those earning under $22,000) do not get legal services for civil cases, yet we worry about an oversaturation in the market of lawyers?
Perhaps, we ought to seek lowering tuition, not just stalling it at a 1% increase. Then, maybe, just maybe, we ought to consider finding a way to allocate some state resources for the representation of the 80% (similar numbers in other states) impoverished individuals, continually left without legal recourse.
Students fighting debt cannot fight for the poor. The poor cannot fight for themselves when recent grads must fight debt. So, can we blame that recent law school grad who entered law school with a heart of gold and dreams of social justice for “being a cop-out” when he has to choose practicality over his own poverty?