Big Law schools like Yale, Harvard, or Emory have access to the resources of a large university and “substantial endowments,” according to a recent S&P report that shows how standalone law schools are being affected by the current state of the legal industry.
Standard & Poor’s has released a report showing that the sad state of the legal industry is crushing many of these standalone law schools which are not attached to larger universities, according to Business Insider. Thomas Jefferson has the distinction of being the American law school where 2012 graduates had the highest debt load and the lowest unemployment rate.
The job market is leading to a decline in law school enrollment. In discussing the University of California Hastings College of Law, Scott’s report suggested that enrolling too many students would be “irresponsible” in light of the weak legal labor market. Four of the five stand-alone rated by S&P have negative outlooks. Out of New York Law School, Brooklyn Law School, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and Thomas M. Cooley Law School, only Albany Law School received a stable rating.
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Law professor Paul Campos has previously told Business Insider that San Diego-based Thomas Jefferson and most standalone schools often have negligible endowments and therefore must rely heavily on tuition to cover their operating expenses.
According to UC Hastings law school dean Frank Wu, enrolling more students “would mean taking far too many students who would really have a risk of not being able to find a job.”
“Even in the event that these schools experience operating pressures as a result of current demand and enrollment trends,” stated Standard & Poor, “we believe many of these [non-stand-alone] schools will weather the challenges relatively well.”
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