Law School Is A Buyer's Market

Out Of BusinessWhy I Bet A Professor Money At Least One Law School Will Close

 
Put your money where your mouth is.
A good ol’ fashion wager has been placed. A reporter from Slate and a professor of law from the University of California-Berkeley’s School of Law have a high stakes, $2 bet. If at least one law school is shut down by 2018, Slate’s Jordan Weissmann wins $2. If no law schools close, Berkeley’s Steven Davidoff Solomon gets $2.
Solomon’s argument came in the form of a New York Times article a few weeks ago. He used Thomas Jefferson School of Law as an example of why struggling law schools are “like Dracula: hard to kill.” The main argument for Solomon is real estate. Stand alone schools like Thomas Jefferson will not close because creditors won’t allow them to leave empty buildings. Schools associated with larger universities will not close because universities do not want empty and abandoned buildings.
This week, Weissmann shared his side of the argument. First, Weissmann argues with some of the big dogs lowering tuition and increasing scholarship amounts (Northwestern University only had 30% of enrolled students on scholarships in 2009 and now has 79% on scholarships!), the Thomas Jefferson’s of the world simply will not be able to compete. They will be priced out. Thomas Jefferson has debt to pay off. It is more difficult for them to lower tuition costs.
Second, Weissmann points out that small, private schools of higher education close every year. Thomas Jefferson could be an exception and not the norm. With tuition costs largely increasing across undergraduate and graduate schools, students are doing anything they can to avoid higher costing schools—which are largely the smaller, private schools.
Finally, Weissman contends that it is an assumption, at best, to just expect large universities to keep a law school open because they will have nothing else to do with a large building. Universities are businesses. They are trying to cut costs and make money. If a law school is suffering and a business or medical school is bringing in money, it is not hard to rid of the money suck and expand the lucrative portion of the school.
Regardless, the stakes have been laid and in 2018, someone will be $2 richer.
Source: Slate
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