The American Bar Association (ABA) released a draft report Friday that
scrutinizes law schools in Americaand offers some advice on how to fix them.
The ABA says one of the main problems with America’s law schools is the cost, with average tuition at private schools topping $US40,000. This huge price tag is unacceptable to a lot of people since the job market isn’t so great for lawyers anymore.
The report includes a couple of big explanations for why law school is so costly:
1) “Discriminatory pricing” — Top students often get huge scholarships, meaning the non-superstars end up paying more for their law degrees. Schools rarely give scholarships to people just because they’re poor. As a result, students with the worst credentials end up taking on the biggest debt loads even if they come from low-income families.
“This form of price discrimination reflects the importance of status competition among law schools, in particular competition for students with high LSAT scores,” the ABA report said. “High LSAT scores strongly affect a school’s status by contributing directly and indirectly to law school rankings.”
2) Law schools have to provide services other than law classes, and that costs money — Law schools are under a ton of pressure to give students more services like career support and the opportunities to work on real cases.
“The rationale for these additions is improving the educational services delivered to students,” the ABA report said. “But it also reflects the fact that law schools compete with each other on the basis of quality of service, in addition to price.”
3) Law schools don’t try charge what students can afford — Law schools generally figure out their tuition based purely on the cost of delivery minus money they get from endowments and state subsidy, according to the ABA. Instead, they should be managing their costs based on what students can pay them, and what a law degree might be worth these days.
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