Getting law students to agree on something normally has about the same success rate as a North Korean missile test, but mention law school tuition and pretty much all of us will opine that the current rates essentially pauperize graduates. This is an unfortunate and largely inescapable fact of life in the US educational system. Regardless of what solutions we might put forth for fixing the problem in the future, the fact is that most of us realize that, for now, it’s the price we have to pay to get our J.D. That slip of paper which is little more than a permission slip to allow us to register for the bar exam.
No matter what we do to try and put it out of our minds, the thought of being six-figures in debt on graduation is daunting, especially during the 3L year as we begin to scramble for jobs. Just as this panic is beginning to come full into effect, we start getting notices about this year’s 3L class gift. Because what better way for the law school to show that it really cares about us than for it to entice the less-cynical classmates to hound their peers for money?
Yes, the 3L “class gift.” Your opportunity to “give something back” to the law school because, damnit, $30,000 to $50,000 a year in tuition just isn’t enough to keep everything running. You think the outdated advice given out by the career services office comes free? Your school had to search long and hard to find people so far down the totem pole that even corporate HR departments wouldn’t hire them. That kind of search costs money.
Or maybe your school is trying to play the “it’s for future students, not the school” angle. See, here’s the thing. If you want to help future students, find one and give the money to her directly. Or, better yet, use the money to start a community outreach program where you can explain to people who are dumb enough to think they want to be lawyers that they’ll make better money as garbage men. Either of those options is going to be a lot more helpful to future students than putting that same money in the law school’s hands and trusting that an institution which pays your dean more than twice as much as a state supreme court justice will manage your gift wisely.
Then again, maybe they’re trying to appeal to your self-interest and pointing out that the participation rate in the 3L gift is a factor in law school rankings. Yes, that’s actually a thing. Somewhere along the line, some perverse idiot decided that the more likely students were to give money they don’t have to a school that’s already taken over $100,000 from them, the better the school must be.
And we wonder why so many lawyers have trouble with math.
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