Bitter Lawyer just got classy. The following post is from a former Judge on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. We’re calling the judge “TexJudge.” Also read TexJudge’s response to this piece: Bitter Judge Strikes Again.
Y’all are great. Funny, informative and well-written. Many of the issues you cover need more attention than they have received, especially from the mainstream media.
I attended a top-25 law school (Boston University) and graduated in 1977. My third-year tuition was $7500, and most law jobs paid around $35-40000 per year at that time. BigLaw paid, if I recall, around $60000. Thirty years later, tuition is around $40000, roughly a 550% increase. BigLaw jobs now pay around $160000, a 250% increase, but most law jobs outside BigLaw, pay around $60000, a less than 75% increase.
Clearly, something is out of whack here. Tuition quintuples over 30 years at both top-tier and lesser-tier schools, but pay, for the 90% of grads who have no chance at a BigLaw job, has not even doubled. No wonder new law grads often have student loan debts well in excess of $100000 with little ability to pay them back—much less have enough left over for rent, food, etc.
Why are not law schools, or universities in general, criticized for their excessive prices? People go nuts if gas goes up 10%, but somehow law schools increase their tuition every year far in excess of inflation and totally avoid scrutiny from the media or the so-called consumer advocates. There are far too many law schools. I realize that folks who decide to go to law school need to do more due diligence to determine if it makes economic sense given the employment market for new lawyers (especially from lower-tier schools). However, don’t the schools themselves have some obligation to warn applicants that going to law school may be a very risky financial gamble? Should schools be required, perhaps as a requirement for their students to be eligible to receive government-backed student loans, to make true and accurate (under penalty of perjury) stats public regarding the employment rates of their graduates for the preceding five years?