Interdisciplinary Scholarship and the Cost of Legal Education

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4 Responses

  1. Eric Goldman says:

    Two main culprits in the explanation for increasing costs of a JD: (1) accreditation requirements, which keep proliferating, and (2) US News and World Reports, which motivates schools to spend on things measured by the survey regardless of the pedagogical payoff from those efforts. So it’s unlikely that ABA-accredited schools that care about their US News rankings are going to get cheaper any time soon. In contrast, California has state-accredited schools that provide a much lower-cost option for legal education; but those schools are viewed as non-viable options by many law school candidates. Eric.

  2. “Brian suggests that the high cost of law school “is also a problem for society because the lower middle class and poor cannot obtain lawyers–it just doesn’t pay enough.” He concludes”

    …wouldn’t this also be an argument for National Law Insurance – whereby we federalize the providing of legal services so that the poor and middle class could avail themselves of the services of “elite” school graduates. I’ve no doubt that the government can bring the same efficiencies to the providing of legal services that many on this board believe they can bring to our health care “crisis”.

  3. George says:

    One law student’s point of view:

    1. Learning the fallacy “post hoc ergo propter hoc” cost me $341.00 dollars per credit hour in undergrad at UMass Boston, but at Suffolk Law it cost me $1,195.00 per credit hour? Where is the extra $850 dollars going? Both schools are in Boston. Suffolk’s been around a lot longer. I don’t know how to run a school either; I do know the explanation of the fallacy was equivalent in depth at both schools. Even if the law professor served me ham and cheese on rye with a beer on the side, one would be looking at maybe an additional $35.00, with a tip.

    2. Want lower law school costs? Don’t charge so much. Just because the market allows it does not require you to charge that amount.

    3. One realistic approach would be to cut a year or two off the degree. My tuition would go down $35,948 for 1 year and $71,896 for two. You could have a JD be a one or two year master’s degree or even a 5yr combined undergrad and masters degree. After graduation the budding attorney goes into a one or two year internship similar to medical school model where one is apprenticing under an attorney. After that you take the bar, and if you pass, then, and only then, are you allowed to fly solo. Those who wish to pursue more rigorous academic work can get a PhD in Law or an LLM specialization after they pass the bar.


    Costs go down, you get cheap legal labor, the new student gets two years in system, making contacts, learning actual lawyer skills in the state system he or she would be practicing in. As a very wise man just said yesterday:

    “There’s a certain wisdom that comes from experience that seasoned practitioners have and that I don’t think can readily be taught in school. The best way to learn how to practice law is to do it.”

    Is Interdisciplinary Legal Study a Luxury?, Daniel J. Solove at January 17, 2008 04:37 PM.

    Plus, you could still keep all the unnecessary hazing, sorting, 1L, “we’re-gonna-make-lawya-outa-u” stuff that you guys love so much. It’s win-win.

  4. A.J. Sutter says:

    George: notwithstanding my reply to you in the previous thread on this topic, reading your current post I see your point. Your complaints are valid, your suggestions are good. But since they’re too late for your own legal education, just pass the bar and find a way to use what you learned. Much of this blog is focused on the career concerns of the professoriate; you have a chance to surpass them.