Vermont Law School has had a rough time lately.In an ominously titled post “Anatomy of a Law School Collapse,” legal blog Constitutional Daily noted Vermont Law recently took the unusual step of downsizing staff.
The New York Times also mentioned Vermont Law on Thursday in a story chronicling the precipitous drop in law school applications and the brutal impact that could have on legal education.
The day the Times story came out, Vermont’s President and Dean Marc Mihaly wrote a rather even-handed response to the press his law school has been getting.
Mihaly acknowledged law schools should be getting getting smaller. He even said there are arguably too many law schools in the United States.
“Does the world need this law school, here in the hills of Vermont?” he wrote. “I propose that the answer is ‘Yes.'”
Here’s why the world needs Vermont law school, according to Mihaly: The school is unique.
“Vermont Law attracts the type of people who want to change the world, not fit into it,” he said.
The law school promotes itself as one that attracts students who have a “passion for public service, a concern for justice, and an interest in pursuing legal education as a means to make a difference in the world.”
The school also charges $45,000 a year in tuition, though it does say that 60 per cent of its entering students receive merit scholarships.
Still, it’s sad to imagine pursuing a career in public service with $135,000 in debt from three years in law school. (That’s not including loans you’d have to take out for living expenses.)
In October, the legal group NALP released a report showing that salaries for government and nonprofit lawyers had hardly grown at all since 2004.
While Vermont Law students might share a passion for altruistic lawyering, in reality they’ll probably struggle to pay off their debts from a private law school education.
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