Friday 23 January 2009

Are law schools exploiting students?

The ABA Journal has a report that the dean of New York Law School, Richard Matasar, said that law schools are exploiting their students who fail to succeed. He made the remarks, available in a podcast, at a program at the recent Association of American Law Schools meeting. He is quoted as saying that “We own our students' outcomes. We took them. We took their money. We live on their money. … And if they don't have a good outcome in life, we're exploiting them. It's our responsibility to own the outcomes of our institutions. If they're not doing well ... it's gotta be fixed. Or we should shut the damn place down. And that's a moral responsibility that we bear in the academy.” In a recent year at 50 law schools, 20 percent of the students either flunked out, can’t find jobs or have unknown outcomes. And many students graduate with a staggering amount of debt: another ABA Journal article tells the story of divorcing law school grads who were unable to cope with their combined $190,000 debt despite both earning six figure salaries. Both articles point to a recent story in Forbes magazine entitled "The Great College Hoax" that questions the idea that higher education is always a good investment.

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