Archive for Tuesday, March 29, 2011

KU law school expects to see steep decline in applications

March 29, 2011

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All across the country, law school applications are down this year, and Kansas University certainly is no exception.

Stephen W. Mazza, interim dean of the School of Law, said the school — like many others — extended its admission deadline after seeing a much smaller group of students applying.

KU extended its deadline by one month, to April 15. Even with that extension, Mazza said the school expects a drop from 15 to 20 percent from last year’s group of about 1,100 applicants.

Those figures would place KU below the national average of 11.5 percent smaller pools of students, Mazza said, and would be “one of the steepest declines we’ve seen in the past decade.”

That’s no surprise to Tonda Hill, a second-year law student from Leavenworth. She’s noticed a lot more focus on the realities of the job market facing law graduates, who are typically laden with high debt loads.

An article in the New York Times in January seemed to start the conversation, she said. (Mazza said the person profiled in the article didn’t do enough research into law school before beginning his journey.) Other students have blogged about their difficulties in finding jobs.

Hill, who already has a master’s degree in education from KU, turned to law school after getting laid off from her social studies teaching job in Leavenworth.

She said she wasn’t prepared for the realities of the job market that she’ll face once she graduates. Those high-paying jobs at Fortune 500 companies just aren’t there, she said.

“I don’t think anybody was prepared for it,” she said. “I certainly wasn’t.”

She’s decided to pursue elder law, an area that deals with seniors and people with disabilities, largely because she felt it would make her more marketable.

Mazza said he didn’t anticipate significant negative consequences for the school because of the lower number of people interested in applying to KU.

“What we are finding is that the quality of our applications is steady to slightly improving,” he said.

That could be a sign that the less serious applicants are dropping off, he said, while more serious students remained.

Mazza said the school is expanding its professional skills courses, offering “externship” opportunities where students accept an unpaid internship for credit and generally designing its curriculum around what lawyers really do.

The school isn’t expecting to raise tuition dramatically, so KU remains a relatively affordable option, compared with other law schools, Mazza said. But still, KU students can carry debts of just under $50,000 after leaving (more expensive schools can easily leave students with six-figure debt after graduation).

And, he said, KU still offered a high-quality legal education for students interested in obtaining a degree.

Hill agreed, saying she felt she was getting a good education at KU.

But, at the end of the day, she still harbors fears and anxiety about getting a good job. She said she might have reconsidered going to law school — if she had known when she applied what she knows today about the job market.

“When you get into that much debt, you want to know there’s a reward at the end of the journey,” Hill said.

Comments

Scott Drummond 4 years, 5 months ago

More stock brokers, health care weasels and real estate "developers" to steal your retirement funds

Liberty275 4 years, 5 months ago

Am I gonna have to pay the nurse for my sponge bath with my 401k?

Flap Doodle 4 years, 5 months ago

I expected somebody else to be the first commenter on this.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

brewmaster 4 years, 5 months ago

Less lawyers would be good, no lawyers would be great, especially the scumbag product liability lawyers that defend corporate criminals.

cato_the_elder 4 years, 5 months ago

Brewmaster, you must not be aware of the fact that the "scumbag product liability lawyers" you describe would be out of work if it were not for the many lawsuits filed daily by contingent fee lawyers on behalf of plaintiffs who got their names from advertisements on billboards, on television, or in the yellow pages.

It takes two to tango, pal.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 5 months ago

Wow! My post was removed even though it was a direct quote of William Shakespeare. And the first time I've had a post removed. "Such sweet sorrow"

cato_the_elder 4 years, 5 months ago

I didn't see your post, but I'm sure I know what it was. Shakespeare's point was that killing all the lawyers would remove all semblance of order from society, which is what was sought by Dick the Butcher, who said it. It has been misunderstood by almost everyone since then, including apparently the online gendarmes at the J-W.

TheEyeofUS 4 years, 5 months ago

What do you call a 15 to 20 percent decline in law school applications?

A good start!

volunteer 4 years, 5 months ago

Thanks, Cato. And no tuition required for that bit of education.

Anyone know what the tuition is per semester for this year...even though both Washburn and KU have scads of folks who passed the bar LAST year and are still working AT a bar as bartenders... or liquor stores or whatever their law school jobs were.

As I posted previously sometime, I met a fella at the Capitol Plaza Hotel..not sure if that was when the Regents and university officials were there..anyhow, he claimed to be a "decider" of what the enrollment should be at one of the law schools or all the law schools in Kansas or something.

He claimed that "transactionally" there should be enough work to employ these folks...it is just the dang Recession preventing hiring.

Of course just because a fella says something is so doesn't mean it's so.

Kontum1972 4 years, 5 months ago

its a hoax....they are all going to run for president....how far does the smoke blow?

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 5 months ago

The problem is that lawyers don't come with "user reviews". It's a crap shoot. One lawyer charged me $400 to do nothing but write a letter. He didn't even represent me in court. (And then he ticked off the guy he wrote the letter too, making things much worse.) Another lawyer charged me the same amount, represented me in court and got my child support cut in half to be in state guidelines, when it never should have been set as high as it was in the first place. Both charged the same amount and the quality of the work they did was wildly different. There's no way to tell until you spend the money and take your chances.

Kontum1972 4 years, 5 months ago

i dont hate lawyers..i just find them kind of sleazy....like a bad date

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 5 months ago

Wow, with all of the distinguished professors at KU law, one would think it would attract lots of students and be the best in the country.

goodcountrypeople 4 years, 5 months ago

Never fully understood the true definition of incompetence until I meet two public defenders in Lawrence,KS, both with KS /Washburn law degrees. One had the gall to tell me, "Lawyers don't lie to each other. The charges will be dropped." Imagine the state stooping to making a Faustian, illegal, unconstitutional, catch-22 deal to cut someone loose. It's nothing if not filthily corrupt and flaunting of basic laws and personal integrity.

That's what happens when you deal with the conflict-of-interest politics of KU and Douglas County, and no one has the character to step up to the plate and admit mistakes were made--not by a defendant who was dishonestly framed by southern-justice manipulation, but by corrupt KU gothic mountain people officials, their devil-dealing lawyers, and the incompetent, blame-the-victim local criminal injustice system. "Hacks" is too kind of a descriptor for these types.Think twice before you elect someone from who is a full-fledged , eager participant in this BS for school board. Guess when you hear someone is a KU graduate it doesn't surprise you when their ethics smell a bit funky.

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