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Vermont Law School Plans to Downsize Staff; Dean Says Nonlawyer Specialists Will Do More Legal Work

Posted Nov 28, 2012 8:16 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The field of health care has been transformed with more cost-effective treatment by nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and the legal field will follow with less work being done by lawyers, according to a law dean who is preparing for changes ahead by downsizing.

Marc Mihaly, the dean and president of Vermont Law School, notes the drop in lawyer jobs has contributed to a reported 25 percent decrease in law school enrollments nationwide over a two-year period, the Associated Press reports. Vermont Law School has not been spared. A drop in enrollment there has created a budget shortfall of $3.3 million, the National Law Journal reports.

Mihaly is responding with voluntary buyout packages for staffers, and if too few people respond, another offer will be made—to a different group. "I think it's safe to say that some sort of voluntary buyout package will be offered to the faculty, and I think it will be early next year," Mihaly told the NLJ. "We don't want to go there if we don't have to."

Mihaly also plans to increase revenues by offering additional LL.M, online and certificate programs related to the school’s environmental law curriculum, according to the NLJ.

Mihaly told AP that law firms will no longer be staffed only with lawyers. ‘‘The market and technology are going to take that model and shake it,” he said. Firms will instead give more work to specialists who have less than three years of legal training, he said.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "About Half of Law Schools Surveyed Have Cut First-Year Enrollment"

ABAJournal.com: "Law Schools Could Be Admitting 80 Percent of Their Applicants This Fall, Statistics Suggest"

ABAJournal.com: "As Applicant Numbers Dwindle, Law Schools Entice Students with Generous Scholarships"

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