Law Schools

Law Schools Need to Partner Up to Help Deflate Rising Tuition, Dean Says

Attention, prospective law students: The cost of legal education will continue to rise. That is the prediction shared by two law school deans—Michael Schill from the University of Chicago at a recent panel event in Chicago, and Phoebe Haddon from the University of Maryland, who stopped for a visit with the ABA Journal.

However, Haddon, who opposed a tuition hike in 2011—the freeze remains subject to university approval—also proposed an interesting solution: increased collaboration between rival law schools. Shared faculty appointments, facilities and technology, a trend that has already taken root among colleges within a single university, can alleviate the hefty expenses of boosting practice-based courses as students demand more hands-on experience, Haddon says, even at law schools that compete for the same pool of students and professors.

“We have to be more practical and be more retrospective about our competitive interests,” Haddon said, “[Law schools] need to ask: What are the ways to make this a win-win situation by sharing those types of costs?”

One example Haddon cites is students’ work on a leadership journal published jointly by Santa Clara Law and the University of Maryland School of Law that culminated in the Leadership Education Roundtable at Santa Clara last weekend.

And for those law schools that don’t want to share their toys in the sandbox?

“This is the reality for law schools,” Haddon added. “It’s already started, but we will soon see more formalized relationships between law schools.”

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