Tuesday, April 22, 2014

News Roundup: Law schools going online to pursue new profiteering opportunities

Why a legal education is worth it
Money Quote: “Law schools are criticized for teaching too much theory and not enough practice, for being too expensive, for churning out too many graduates into an already-saturated legal market.”

Hamline offers online law school, for nonlawyers
Money Quote: “You hear all the time the market for lawyers is shrinking,” said James Coben, a Hamline law professor who’s directing the new master’s program. But there’s a growing recognition, he said, that many people need more than a passing knowledge of the law to do their jobs well.”

William Mitchell Law School Offers Hybrid JD Program
Money Quote: “According to the school’s website, annual tuition for the hybrid program will be approximately $27,000, which is comparable to the law school’s part-time tuition. Typical full-time tuition runs about $38,000.”

24 comments:

  1. "But there’s a growing recognition, he said, that many people need more than a passing knowledge of the law to do their jobs well."

    So buy a hornbook covering the area you need to know about. Look up some law review articles and practice guides. If you need practical nuts & bolts law, look somewhere other than a JD program. Spend that $150-200k on a house for your family instead.

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    1. This. If a full-on JD is not valued by the marketplace, why would a watered-down JD be desireable? Many companies have had people doing quasi-legal tasks for decades, and they call on outside counsel when they get into a jam or encounter something they haven't seen before.

      Unless your employer is having you to do the not-JD program on their nickel, it is of no value. This is worse than the lemmings just doing a JD program in the first instance.

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    2. "... If you need practical nuts & bolts law, look somewhere other than a JD program. Spend that $150-200k on a house for your family instead."

      Or hire a lawyer as needed. At $100/hr (for ordinary stuff), you can buy 150 - 200 hours. And given that this would be a tax-deductible expense, that's actually from 200-250 hours. And you can find a lawyer who's dealt with your type of business before, which means that somebody else has paid[1] for their learning curve.

      [1] In both money and getting bad advice.

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    3. When you put it that way . . . buy a house for your family instead . . . it really hits home the gamble so many law students are making. They may as well put the money in a high risk biotech or on a roulette table instead of gambling it on law school.

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    4. The son of some friends of mine just finished college in December. First from either side of the family to go to college. His parents persuaded him to opt for one of our state colleges rather than an out of state private school because the latter would have meant borrowing $100,000. His mother told him: "If I had $100,000 to give you I'd keep it until after you graduated and then give it to you to buy a house." These are not super-sophisticated college consumers, but more and more people are figuring it out.

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    5. Barry, at $100 per hour, you could buy 1500 to 2000 hours of legal work. That, of course, would strengthen the point you were trying to make.

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  2. James Coben is truly grasping at the last turd in the toilet. These snakeoil salesmen CLEARLY do not give one damn about their students or graduates. They also have no regard for the truth.

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    1. Let’s assume for the sake of the argument tuition is $20,000 per year (forget for a moment the other associated debt (books, fees, housing, etc.) let’s just focus on tuition. Also, let’s assume there are 6 classes taught in a year (part-time/hybrid). $20,000/6=$3300 per class (approximate). A typical semester is about 18 weeks. Again, $3300 per class each class last (about) 18 weeks thus $3300/18 = $180 (approximate) per week. In summary, a law student is paying $180 per week to be taught law, in many cases, by a highly respected (assumption) law professor. How is it considered a rip off? I am not a lawyer, but a Computer Scientist and by no stretch of the imagination a skilled professor of law, but I would not even consider teaching someone how to build/setup/manage a VMware linked clone network environment for $180 per week (as an example). I doubt I would even do it for $1500 per week. Again, what am I missing in concluding that being taught Torts (as an example) by a highly skilled legal educator (assumption) for $180 per week (approximate) is a more than fair price for the service being offered? As far as getting a job upon graduation is an entirely different conversation and is based on a complex set of factors not necessarily tied to the $180 you paid for your Tort class.

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  3. Did you hear that Washington and Lee still flies the confederate flag? What a bunch of liberal hypocrits. http://abovethelaw.com/2014/04/wherein-black-people-have-to-go-to-school-with-confederates/

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  4. People are ruining their lives borrowing money to go to grossly over-priced law schools and all Oliveri can come up with is "student loans suck?" In other words, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

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    1. Oliveri's flippant style of prose speaks like someone who has never really shouldered a significant, life-altering student loan debt for years and years on end. I have, and the last thing I would tell anybody is "OMG, student loans suck, y'know?" I have more sympathy than that.

      As a Stanford grad, methinks she had access to more resources out of the gate than the vast majority of the plebeains, which of course would explain a lot. And Deans gonna Dean, in any event.

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  5. Sell, sell, sell. If a law school goes out of business then there's always the online possibility. Virtual professors, virtual libraries and virtually inexpensive...and a free prize for the first 100 to enter*.
    *some conditions may apply.

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    1. Yup. I'm waiting for the first law school to hawk its wares with an animated-gif banner ad of a girl flashing her tits.

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    2. Sign up now, and we'll send you a free set of Ginsu knives—with which to slit your wrists upon graduation.

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  6. They are no different than the POS online high school alternatives that are advertised everywhere you turn: "Come to our online high school and we'll give you a free laptop." Well, except the POS law programs aren't giving out free laptops. Yet.

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  7. has someone been naughty -

    thefacultylounge and prawfsblawg both appear to be down.

    Awe, c'mon, watching BoredJD, Unemployed Northeastern, MacK, etc. twist their proverbials is so entertaining

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  8. I grew up in the Twin Cities. Hamline and William Mitchell are both in St. Paul. One law school in Minnesota would probably be enough; four is ridiculous.

    I think Hamline Law is not long for this world. Their 2013 509 Report says they are awarding scholarships that are more than full tuition. A small university can only maintain a law school that has become a money pit for so long.

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    1. Once Hamline Law shuffles off this mortal coil, it can go on scamming people in Hell.

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    2. It will be interesting to see which law school closes first. My bet is either Hamline, Vermont, or Appalachian. Is there a death watch or death betting pool on this somewhere ?

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    3. Satan would not allow the scam to go on in Hell. He, unlike scam deans and lawprofs, has something of a conscience.

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  9. Some people above compared the cost of law school unfavorably to the cost of a thousand or so hours of legal services.

    Another comparison that I like to draw: the cost of law school relative to the cost of hiring professors as private tutors. For $50k per year, one could instead hire a professor as a private tutor at $50 per hour for 30 weeks per year and 33 hours per week. That's more instructional time than most people could realistically use. Let's say instead $50 per hour, 30 weeks per year, and 20 hours per week; that's only $30k per year, a price lower than what most law schools charge. And one would get personalized, one-on-one instruction—probably of better quality than even the best law schools can offer. So why is this cheaper but better option unavailable for those wishing to join a bar? Why is it not eligible for student loans?

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    1. I've thought about this as well. At most schools, 2-4 students' tuition is enough to pay a professor's salary. What are the other students in the class paying for? The library full of books made obsolete by West/Lexis?

      4 students could take their $30k/yr and get an excellent attorney to teach them at home. No silly "hide the ball" teaching and no need to fund useless law review articles. Just solid preparation for the bar and for practice. I have no doubt these students would get a far better education than a traditional JD program.

      There would definitely be no shortage of highly qualified attorneys who would drop everything to get $120k/yr for such a cushy job.

      Of course this will never work, because the jackasses who lead the legal industry wouldn't like someone who doesn't have a degree from an ABA-accredited prestige mill. This profession (at least at the entry-level) is all about phony "prestige" and credentials instead of actual knowledge of the law or ability to practice.

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  10. Why are there no comments on the first article? We need to get the word out there.

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  11. Hamline Law School is dying. The school is desperate right now. The central university seems to be pulling out all stops to get a class in the door this year--giving away seats to almost anyone who is dumb enough to go there--knowing that no one in the area really wants to hire a Hamline grad for anything other than doc review ...

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