Law Prof: Schools May Close if 2-Year Program Adopted
Jan. 25 (Bloomberg Law) — A proposal to allow students to leave law school after two years, take the bar and practice could lead to fewer law schools, according to one of its authors, Professor Samuel Estreicher of New York University School of Law. Under the plan, only students who remain for the traditional third year would actually receive a law degree. New York’s Chief Judge has said he wants to study the plan.
“It may not be a bad thing if some of these schools consolidate with other schools” he says, including in the New York City market, where there are 13 schools.
Another consequence of the proposal is that some schools might increase tuition to make up for the revenue lost by students taking only two years of classes. But because tuition costs are already so high “I don’t think most schools have that ability,” he says. “Even the great brand schools will not have the ability to jack up their price much more.”
With many clients reluctant to pay for first-year associates, big law firms may cut first-year pay if students attend only two years of school, he said.
But the proposal would also significantly trim student debt levels, making it easier for students to serve low-income clients. “I see this as an access to justice proposal,” he said. Professor Estreicher speaks with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia.