Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What if the Bloggers Weren't That Successful After All?

I know there have been articles suggesting that the scam blog movement is responsible for the decrease in applications for law school, but is that merely a simplistic explanation?

I'm sure the blogs probably convinced some people not to bother with it.  However, there have been vocal complainers for a few years.

I think that what we've seen is an equivalent of a housing bubble.  Too many factors compounded each other into a perfect storm.  Essentially, the price point has risen to the point where demand is naturally going to slack off.  It's just like if you had a Porsche for sale.  Maybe everybody wants one, but only a minority can afford it.  Law school has become the Porsche.

However, because of what law school is, people are only now just realizing that it is a Porsche.

I recall a few years ago now when I first considered applying to law school.  It had been a few years between my undergraduate days and when I applied, so tuition had skyrocketed since then....for school in general. 

I saw the hourly tuition rates and swallowed hard, but decided to do it because I felt that it was a good choice.  When I told my friends how much the tuition rates were, they almost passed out!  I too felt like I was crazy.  But I did it.

Fast forward five years later.  Tuition rates at these schools were now about a couple of hundred dollars more per hour than during the time that I started going to school.

However, undergraduate tuition also escalated.  Those people are coming out of undergraduate school owing several thousand dollars more than someone did just a few short years before.  So now, you have undergraduate students already saddled with a massive amount of debt being called upon to decide if it is worth paying another $100,000 on top of what they already owe.

The ones who can do math realize that it's simply become too expensive.

Even so, I'm willing to bet that the economy played its own part in continuing to jack up tuition.  People used graduate school as a place to hide out while the economy improved. Yes, people simply borrowed the money and "hid out" at school and purposefully ignored the sticker cost.  This probably accounted for the increased applications despite tuition costs.

However, since it is becoming apparent that nobody is finding jobs in any field, people are beginning to perceive that it is a waste of their time to go to school some more.

Yes, it has become so expensive that people are being forced to look at what they are paying.

Kids who already owe $100,000 in undergraduate debt are being confronted with whether they can take on the additional cost of more schooling.  Having some idea about what their student loan payments are going to be like,  they simply acknowledge that they can't afford that much debt.  So, people who weren't die hard lovers of the idea of law school are simply dropping off.


  1. If purchasing an education were like purchasing an automobile, law school would be a Yugo with the price tag of a Porsche.

  2. Law School is more like a 1974 AMC Gremlin with bald tires, a cracked windshield, and a shot transmission.

  3. There have been cogent articles at least since 1995 explaining why law school is a poor choice for most people. These were ignored until it became a practical impossibility to pursue even an inferior legal career. I attended law school in the early 90s and enjoyed it. I have also enjoyed most of my legal work. Many people seem to attend law school in a self-deceptive fog ("Don't worry, if you hate law school you will enjoy law practice." Certainly. Dull cases become so much interesting when read at 10:00 to produce a response on short notice.)

  4. People used graduate school as a place to hide out while the economy improved. Yes, people simply borrowed the money and "hid out" at school and purposefully ignored the sticker cost. This probably accounted for the increased applications despite tuition costs.

    The facts don't bear this out. The growth in law school applicants in 2009 over 2008 was only about 4%. By contrast in 2002, it was 17%. 2004 was the record high for law school applicants (>100,000), not 2009 (86,500) as we'd expect, even though the recession was much worse. This persuades me that scamblogs are responsible for convincing people not to go to law school who otherwise would have.

  5. I think the scambloggers are only responsible for their own failures. Nothing more. Maybe some people don't enroll because of them, but then again, those who don't enroll because they agree with the degenerates of the internet world were probably not going to get median or above after all.

  6. The World Traveling Law Student at 12:50 above is obsessed with the fact the law school scamblogs are populated with persons who do not agree with him. In fact, he takes personal offense for some strange reason at the simple fact that the scamblogs, for the most part, simply state that for many if not most persons who go, law school is not a good value. No one is trying to stop him personally from going, nor has anyone I have seen or read about care. He regrets the free flow of information when it does not conform to his worldview or conflicts with his envisioned and imagined notions of what the legal world is like, even though he himself has never practiced law, unlike so many who post on the scamblogs.

    It's true, law school is not a good value for at least many who go. And, that fact is exacerbated by the current job market and the fact law schools have refused to evolve into institutions which at he very least provide a modicum of practical skill.

    The World Traveling Law Student (above) is upset because his internalizations and deep, deep concern with what total strangers think of his insecurity-ridden decision to attend law school (I for one could simply not care less)have resulted in a resentment of anyone who doesn't think law school, particularly non-elite law school, is a great value in and of itself.

    Good luck with that.