US News Blames High Law School Tuition Partly on Oversupply of Eager Students
Posted Aug 6, 2010 6:40 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Angry law grads fighting for jobs in a tight job market often fill blog comment sections with demands to clamp down on the number of law schools churning out lawyers. These critics complain of sky-high education debt and no prospect of paying it off.
But the limited number of schools may be one reason why law school tuitions are so high, according to U.S. News & World Report. It’s all about supply and demand, the magazine says in a response to an ABA report posted at the Morse Code blog.
“The number of prospective students taking the LSAT test is still at record levels,” the magazine says. “Many law schools are still receiving very large numbers of applications despite the poor state of the legal job market. This all means that there is still a near record demand for legal education and not enough capacity at the top schools.”
U.S. News posted its conclusion in response to a critical report about the magazine’s rankings by the ABA. It echoes comments made by the magazine’s data research director, Bob Morse, in an interview with the ABA Journal last month.
According to the ABA report (PDF), law schools that provide a quality legal education at a relatively low cost tend to be punished in the U.S. News rankings, and that in turn drives up the cost of law school.
“It's very easy for the ABA and law school academics to blame U.S. News for many of the negative practices at law schools,” the magazine says. “Law schools and the ABA need to take far more direct responsibility for these trends.”