This summer, Mr. Wippman [current law school dean] will leave Minnesota to become president of New York’s Hamilton College, a private liberal arts school — another area of higher education that has been buffeted by declining student interest and lower enrollment.
“Things seem to be going well there,” Mr. Wippman said. “But I’ve learned that it’s hard to predict the new normal.”
Post by slothofdespond on May 13, 2016 14:11:13 GMT -5
A few scattered thoughts:
- Despite a lousy job market I don't know many new lawyers who are without work. Maybe they're not doing what they love but they're not starving. Anyone expecting to pop out of law school and nab a "great" job in Boston is out of their mind. There is a bit of negativity despite most people I know doing better today because they went to law school than they probably would be had they not.
- I don't think anyone should be paying full tuition to go to law school. A target debt load upon graduation should be around $60k IMO. If it has to be higher then the student shouldn't go. People coming out with $150k in debt are out of their minds.
- The industry is pretty good at recognizing talent and weeding out clunkers. My more competent friends are doing much better than my less competent friends. Law school isn't a golden ticket like getting an MD. I think some of the competition getting into X school drives disappointment when lesser talent gets into a better school, pays full ride, struggles, then isn't handed a great job soon after graduation.
- The bottom third of law schools could close tomorrow and no one would really care other than the employees at those schools. Lawyers are retiring later and the country doesn't need 50k graduates a year. I also think law school rankings are useful but not for the reason most people think. Better schools get much better applicants. The best of Suffolk could fly at Harvard but there is just less talent at Suffolk overall and it scales. Lawyers mostly teach themselves. That amazing contracts professor everyone gushes about at Such and Such Top 14 might help a little but he's probably a better story teller than teacher. Good lawyers are mostly created in the library and through apprenticeship if they're lucky enough to work with a talented veteran after they graduate.
I remember hearing a friend of mine when he was a BC 1L telling another friend that going to Suffolk was a waste of time and money because she'd never find a job. But given her less prestigious school, she just worked her ass off and finished in the top 5, and has since risen up the ranks at the Boston DA's office in just over a year on the job. So the notions of lawyers teaching themselves and the cream rising to the top has definitely played out.
Post by Pakachoag Phreek on May 13, 2016 16:18:07 GMT -5
A reason I posted the UMInn law school article is that is past decades, I think a relatively high percentage of HC graduates went on to law school. If that's no longer a career path that some at HC aspire to, can HC adapt its curriculum to respond to post-baccalaureate interests and career paths. ______________________________________________
re: Suffolk, this is a tangent, but hopefully the turmoil of the past year is behind the university. New chair of the BoT appointed today. The Globe references that under the departing chair of the BoT, there were five different Presidents in as many years.
I've worked at a law school for 30 years and the reasons for the decline in applications is clear: the cost has gone up exponentially -- even the tuition for an unprestigious, low-rated law school will leave students in very serious debt. There is also the perception that good paying jobs for the average graduate of an ordinary law school just aren't there. And if one has a huge debt, a decent-paying job is a must since one has to live while paying that debt back. Speaking of jobs, there has been some law school chicanery in the recent past. After-graduation employment statistics have been inflated by counting people as "employed" even if they were not doing work for which a law degree was required. Some schools have also inflated their statistics by hiring unemployed graduates as assistants to do research work for professors. Finally, speaking of the Suffolk student who was told that going there was a waste of time, such a school can be a good path to a job as an ADA, but not if a student aspires to an entry-level associate's job with a Wall Street firm that pays $160,000/yr to start. (Speaking of such jobs, one of my old law school professors once said that a person who took such a job would soon wish they were dead because of the stress and extremely long hours.)
Last Edit: May 16, 2016 0:12:55 GMT -5 by beaven302