Friday, July 19, 2013

More on the value of a law degree

Since the blogosphere first took note of the article by Professors Simkovic and McIntyre finding that a law degree adds, on average, $1 million to lifetime earnings beyond an undergraduate degree, several commentators have weighed in on both sides of the issue.  Earlier we told you about a report from Inside Higher Ed in which Professor Tamanaha expressed criticism of the study's conclusion because it focuses on the average salary which he believes inappropriately blends the better outcomes achieved by graduates of elite schools with the lower salaries of those who graduate from lesser schools. 

In this column from the NYT's Dealbook, Professor Steven Davidoff (Ohio State), who has written before about the economic value of a law degree, defends the findings of Professors Simkovic and McIntyre.  And the Washington Post also has a very detailed and favorable discussion of the study's conclusions here.  Professor Brian Leiter adds his endorsement as well here.

On the flipside, Professor Campos has a three part criticism here, here and here in which, among other points, he argues the authors should have focused on the median salary, not omitted the cost of obtaining a law degree and that the historical data they relied on doesn't predict future outcomes for law grads in light of a job market that isn't generating enough positions to accomodate the supply of new lawyers each year.


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