I’m back from my break, and thankfully there was very little law school-related news for me to opine on. The only nugget that deserves a quick post before I get back into gear is Seton Hall’s decision to reduce its tuition for median-LSAT/cum laude-GPA applicants for one year. Third Tier Reality gives the gist of it, but I’ll add that the school’s decision reminds me of Amir Efrati’s 2007 WSJ piece on law schools and the legal sector that interviews Seton Hall’s lawyer of the century, Scott Bullock, d/b/a L4L of the seminal scamblog Big Debt, Small Law.
In the article, Bullock characterized his six-figure Seton Hall JD as a “waste,” which is about as charitable as he ever was. By contrast, the law school’s associate dean condescended “Unfortunately, some find the practice of law is not for them. However, it is our experience that a legal education is a tremendous asset for a variety of professional paths.” The law-is-not-for-everyone mantra surfaced again from a different Seton Hall administrator in a 2010 article in The Star-Ledger.
Now, the law school is promoting its one-year-only tuition reduction program:
“The legal industry is undergoing substantial change,” said Patrick E. Hobbs, Law School Dean, “and for those who choose law, we have a duty to respond in a meaningful way – making legal education more practice oriented and employment focused as well as more affordable. Our Legal Practice Curriculum, numerous clinics, pro bono programs and comprehensive intern and externship programs address the first concerns; this tuition cut will help to answer the next, making Seton Hall Law School more affordable for those who wish to attend.”
Apparently, when criticized about high tuition and poor outcomes, simply shifting the blame onto the students for going to law school for the “wrong reasons” that the law school was powerless to filter for no longer works. Instead, law schools now have a “duty to meaningfully respond to the substantial change the legal industry is undergoing.”
This is the difference five years makes.