Monday, August 14, 2017

Interesting development on the law school front

Via the New York Times, a change in testing requirements: 
Law schools, which have been plagued by a shortfall of students in recent years, are changing their admissions requirements. 
Two top-ranked schools — Georgetown University Law Center and Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law — this week joined Harvard Law’s recent move to make it simpler to apply. 
Applicants can submit the results of the more widely available Graduate Record Exam, the GRE, instead of those from the Law School Admissions Test, which long has been entrenched as the numeric gauge of law school success. 
Many law schools are casting wider nets to attract students who would not otherwise set their sights on a legal education. The schools hope that by making it easier for the engineers, scientists and mathematicians who typically take only the GRE, more of them will enroll....
Are there really that many STEM grads who are interested in law school?

(That's an interesting aspect of the post-Great Recession era - there was a lot of talk about a 'law school bubble', but it seems to me that there hasn't been the mass collapse of law schools that you would expect if the bubble had really collapsed. This 2017 report seems to suggest that enrollments are flat at best, which is not good news if you're a law school dean.) 

10 comments:

  1. I know a few chemists who got into it out of genuine interest, but a lot more who couldn't find jobs and heard about patent agent positions and flooded the market. Given the current problems that law schools have been having with suits about bloated employment figures and declining enrollment, I'm not surprised to see them target a different group of suckers. They need to keep their coffers full and actual law students are onto them. Desperate PhDs? They haven't all caught on yet.

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    1. Anecdotally, I've also heard that the patent agent route is indeed now saturated. On the other hand, the agents who convinced their firms to pay for their law school before the glut are now making bank. Unfortunately, their "alternative career" stories continue to draw others toward a path that no longer exists. (A bit like academia.)

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    2. Three years ago as an Chemistry PhD student, I looked into patent agent positions. I only sent out two applications but got one on-site interview with Allergan, suggesting that, at least until recently, the market wasn't completely saturated. I haven't kept track of the situation since then, though.

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  2. If you can stand it, regulatory is a lucrative area to get into because few people have the requisite skills and interest on both the scientific and legal sides. Most scientists (including myself) would rather stick needles in their eyes than pore over dense legalese, so the pool of people willing and able to work in this area is limited. An undergrad in chemistry followed by law school would probably open a lot of doors for those with an interest in both areas.

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    1. [pulls out needle, shoves in eye just in case]

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    2. Maybe more like an eight hour-long root canal... :-)

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    3. I've never really gotten the 'root canal' metaphor: having had one, I can safely say there are many many things that are both less pleasant and, ultimately, less productive. At least a root canal is a few hours of discomfort for lifelong protection from future abscesses (unless it's botched, which is another matter altogether...)

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    4. KT, from the anon reply to Bender above, it seems that the market may be rather saturated as well, provided Anon's information is accurate.

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    5. The question is, does this mean that the legal job market is getting better, or is it that law schools are looking for more revenue due to the last few years of potential law students figuring out that unless you went to the Top 5, you weren't getting a job that would help pay back those huge student loans?

      Methinks the law schools just missed having all those paying bodies filling up their classes.

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  3. "...there was a lot of talk about a 'law school bubble', but it seems to me that there hasn't been the mass collapse of law schools that you would expect if the bubble had really collapsed."

    Any chance that lack of collapse will extend to the higher ed bubble that appears to be on the horizon?

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