Action Items

How central universities can set legal education back on track.

Actions Needed
A. Examine your law school's entering class statistics
B. Reallocate resources and energy
C. Grow responsibly

Central Universities

A. Examine your law school's entering class statistics: While central administrations are all-too-aware of the financial pressure facing law schools these days, it would not surprise anybody that they do not follow admissions statistics too closely. Many law schools have become cavalier with their enrollment choices. Just as law school faculty and the ABA should demand the evidence law school administrators relied upon in choosing to enroll large percentages of at-risk students, central universities should examine law school admissions practices to ensure that they do not jeopardize university principles.

B. Reallocate resources and energy: Consider whether your university's goals can be met through other means. Not every law-related policy goal requires a JD-granting law school. Spin the law school into a legal studies program. Finance low or pro bono firms that expand access to justice. Create law school scholarships for your undergraduates seeking to serve the communities your law school impacts. These are just a few ways to reallocate your law school's resources and energy into a net gain for your community, students, and university.

C. Grow responsibly: If one or some law schools near your school close, there will be both the opportunity and need to increase enrollment. This is an opportunity to make your legal education more affordable through the advantages of economies of scale. Based on internal factors, such as employment numbers, projected graduates, and bar passage rates, many law schools should be bigger right now. External factors such as applicant interest and local competition (even from non-peers) limit the prudence of that plan. Schools should not grow quickly just because internal indicators suggest they should be able to grow. Without empirical support that extends well beyond the need to alleviate financial pressure, schools that grow too quickly will only hurt future graduates and create a vicious cycle of up and down enrollment.