COVID-19 Causes Financial Turmoil Across Law Schools

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Law schools across the nation are feeling the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University of California system, the University of Arizona, Harvard University and the University of Michigan are among just a few of the law schools that have projected massive budget shortfalls, reports.


On top of canceling in-person events and lectures, law schools have also had to make the difficult decision involving pay cuts and hiring freezes.

At Harvard Law, the dean announced that he, along with all senior staff administrators including graduate school deans, would be either taking pay cuts or contributing to relief funds for employees.

“As Harvard’s leaders have made clear, every revenue source we depend on – including the endowment and tuition, as well as philanthropy, executive and continuing education, and research support – will be under enormous pressure for the foreseeable future,” he wrote in an email to students.

At the University of Arizona, a potential $250-million dollar shortfall has resulted in pay cuts for most employees.

The University of Michigan also announced that it predicted a loss of $400 million to $1 billion due to COVID-19.

There is hope, however.

For one, experts suggest the economy may recover quicker when compared to other recessions.

On top of that, experts say law schools might actually see an increase in applications due to fewer employment opportunities.

“In the short-term, going to professional school—be it business school, law school or something else—is a good idea because it’s a refuge from an inhospitable job market, and the job market will be better three years from now,” former University of North Carolina law professor Bernie Burk, who studies the economics of legal education, tells “And I believe the legal job market will be better. It’s going to be very bad this fall, and then it will improve.”

Sources:, Tipping the Scales, Harvard Crimson, azcentral, Forbes

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