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Law Schools Slash Tuition—But Will They Come?

Vivia Chen

December 9, 2013

Here's a quick update on law school news:

Happy-Family by Roman GorieloviStock1. Shopper alert: Law school tuition sales are on! The University of Iowa College of Law joins the tuition-slashing bandwagon. It just approved a 16 percent tuition cut for both out-of-state residents and resident students, after suffering a 30 percent drop in enrollment, according to sibling publication The National Law Journal.

The NLJ also gives us a very helpful synopsis of other recent law school bargains:

Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law announced it will offer $20,000 annual tuition grants to all admitted Pennsylvania residents starting next fall. That grant will cut tuition costs almost in half for recipients. The school has also seen enrollment tumble, particularly at its campus in Carlisle, Pa. It maintains a second campus in University Park, Pa.

The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law; the University of Akron School of Law, the University of Cincinnati College of Law, Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law have also announced tuition cuts in the past year.

Sadly, however, tuition sales are not happening (yet) in more glam locations. So far, it's mainly the big farm and Rust Belt states that are trying to lasso you to their law schools.

Hope you like the taste of corn or the smell of coal.

2. What?! LSATs might not be necessary to get into law school? The law school at Rutgers University at Camden has been admitting students who had not taken the LSATs, and the ABA is not amused. In fact, the ABA has fined the school $25,000. Reports the NLJ:

From 2006 to 2012, Rutgers-Camden ran a special program that admitted students using scores from other graduate tests—including the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), according to the censure issued by the ABA’s Accreditation Committee.

The school did not obtain the ABA’s permission to do so, and did not evaluate or provide evidence that those alternative tests are valid and reliable predictors of success in law school.

So why did Rutgers-Camden use this ruse? You guessed it--it has to do with its ranking:

The censure notes that the alternative admissions program helped the law school to increase the size of its new classes and improve its acceptance rate without hurting its LSAT percentile scores, which schools must report annually to the ABA and which factor heavily into U.S. News & World Report’s influential law school rankings.

I am not a fan of standardized tests but substituting LSATS with GMATs or GREs (much less MCATs) seems unfair and a bit ridiculous. I mean, why stop there? You might as well use the SATs or the ERBs (that's the test for private school kindergarten applicants) to select the future lawyers of America.

3. Portrait of Nelson Mandela as a law student. Interesting interview with George Bizos, Mandela's lawyer and law school friend. (Al Jazeera; hat tip—Above the Law

Click here to vote for the Careerist as Top ABA Blog in category of Careers/Law Schools. (Voting ends December 20, 2013)

E-mail  Vivia Chen: vchen@alm.com     Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lawcareerist



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It is interesting to see law schools cutting tuition. It is expensive to go to school and the decrease cost may not necesairily stimulate demand so only time will tell if this was the right move.

There are far better tests to determine a lawyers success and viability than the LSAT. Recent data has frequently shown the LSAT to be outdated and not as useful as several other standardized tests.

Taste of corn and smell of coal? Seriously? That's all the Midwest has to offer in your opinion?

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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