Practice and Professionalization

Title

The Viability of the Law Degree: Cost, Value, and Intrinsic Worth

Document Type

Law Review Article

Publication Date

1-2011

Keywords

legal-education, professional-identity, underrepresented-students

Abstract

"This Essay proceeds in three parts. First, it rehearses the now conventional analysis about future haves and have-lesses in legal education, concluding that inevitably, purely financial returns will be insufficient to make the law degree "sensible" for many (most?) students. Second, it suggests that there is intrinsic value in being a lawyer that will continue to make receiving a law degree attractive, and that unlocking that value is dependent on schools producing desirable, intentioned outcomes that will serve employers and the public. Third, it suggests that the cost of producing such value exacerbates the economic dilemma that students face. It concludes that law schools, law-school regulators, and the profession must be willing to experiment and permit new models of legal education to arise that can produce sufficient value at a reasonable cost in order to assure the continued viability of the law degree." (1580–1581)

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