International Financial Law Prof Blog

Editor: William Byrnes
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The State of Legal Education (2015)

Law School Transparency (LST) published its Report of the State of Legal Education (2015).  LST provides substantial raw data in an easy to compare format.  

Most telling, albeit probably not news at this point, is that some law schools with already low bar passage rates are now near an open door policy of over 80% acceptance, admitting the most "extreme risk" students (LSATs of 120 (lowest possible score) and 144 of 180 possible).  

Some of this group of "extreme risk" schools have tuition over $40,000 a year, leaving their extreme risk students with the highest debt burden among law schools, but the lowest job prospects among schools (less than 1 in 3 are employed in full time lawyer positions 10 months nearly a year after graduation).  

Excerpts from the report are below.

"We started with a basic observation. As long as the bar exam guards entrance to the legal profession, law schools should be held accountable for enrolling students who face significant risk of not passing that exam. Failing to earn a license does not eliminate all of the value law schools provide, but that failure significantly decreases the value of a law degree for a typical graduate. Fewer students would undertake three years of law school and significant debt without the prospect of practicing law."

"If a school admits students who face a high risk of failing the bar, we must ask whether the school is exploiting those students and whether other parties are complicit."

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