3 Reasons Why Law Schools Are Under Fire

Last Updated Oct 17, 2011 4:51 PM EDT

My daughter told me the other day that one of her best friends from college was going to law school.

I shuddered when I heard that and asked Caitlin how her friend Elizabeth was going to pay for it. She said Elizabeth got a nice scholarship from the law school, which was helping out a lot.

I shuddered again.

Why the strange reaction?

Law School Backlash

Many law schools appear to be acting dishonestly with students and potential prospects, which is causing a backlash among students, law school graduates and at least two U.S. Senators.

Senators Barbara Boxer of California and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma have had enough of the alleged law school hanky panky. They have called on the federal Department of Education to investigate whether schools are correctly reporting their job placement rates, student loan figures and bar-passage rates.

3 Reasons Law Schools Are Under Fire

Here are some of the questionable law school behaviors that are under fire:

1. The scholarship programs at law schools across the country often look more like bait-and-switch operations. Eighty percent of law schools offer merit scholarships, but many of these scholarships disappear after the recipients finish their first year of law school. Schools are accused of rigging the scholarships so most students can't keep them. Here's a New York Times' expose from earlier this year that explains how this works: Law Students Lose the Grant Game as Schools Win.
2. Law schools charge exorbitant tuition and yet the revenue at some schools is allegedly being diverting elsewhere on the campuses.

3. Law schools are accused of being less than honest when disclosing inflated job placement figures of its graduates.

I'm not surprised that a handful of class-action suits have been filed against law schools this year and at least 15 more are planned.

An excellent resource to learn more about why law schools need to be more forthcoming is Law School Transparency, which advocates that all these schools need to release accurate consumer statistics.

Are You Sure You Want to Go to Law School?

If you tempted to go the law school - and the number of applicants has happily declined during the past year - read these posts first:

5 Reasons Not to Get a Law Degree
Beware: Law School Rip-Offs

More from The College Solution:

25 Colleges With the Happiest Freshmen
25 Colleges With the Unhappiest Freshmen
25 Colleges With the Best Professors
Lynn O'Shaughnessy is author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and Shrinking the Cost of College workbook. She also writes her own college blog at The College Solution.