The Regents of the University of Iowa approved a 16.4% cut in both resident and non-resident law school tuition. The new non-resident tariff will be $39,500, down from $47,200 The new in-state tuition dips to $21,960. For at least one Regent, one big goal of tuition cuts is to bring the 1L class size back up. This year, Iowa's 1L class dropped from 155 to 94. Regent Larry McKibben commented that he hoped the tuition reduction "generates 20 more students to come there." The University has previously stated that its 1L class target is 150 students.
Important as sticker may be, scholarship levels - discounting - remain a crucial (if largely invisible) part of the law school pricing story. Iowa's strategy - like Penn State's new in-state discounting strategy - might reflect a hope that transparent, non-merit discounting will increase applicant pool size. My suspicion is that this strategy is particularly appealing to schools outside of large urban areas, where half the battle is getting students to apply. My guess, at least, is that in large cities, with multiple law schools, applicants apply broadly and look for the biggest individual discount. Iowa and Penn State may ultimately match the individual scholarships of their big-city competitors, but they need candidates to apply in order to even be in the fray.
Claudia Trevisan, a reporter for the Brazilian publication, O Estado de Sao Paulo, came to Yale Law School last Thursday with the goal of speaking to - or perhaps confronting - Joaquim Barbosa, the Chief of the Brazilian Supreme Court. Alas, it was a closed session and Trevisian was told she could not come onto Yale property. She did anyway and she was arrested for trespass. Her blog post on the incident is here. Dean Robert Post apparently called for her release once he heard of her arrest. The University does not plan to press charges.
Perhaps you were thinking: Maryland has suprisingly few law schools and Bowie State University doesn't have one. That's a problem with an easy solution! If so, you'll want to back Maryland AG Douglas Gansler in his effort to become the new governor of Maryland. He supports a new law school at Bowie State, an HBCU which is part of the University System of Maryland.
Can't imagine this is his way of managing the recent controversy around him telling supporters in a closed-door meeting that his primary opponent Anthony Brown is running a campaign of "vote for me, I want to be the first African-American governor of Maryland."
Harvard Law Professor David Barron has been nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit by President Obama. He is a Harvard Law grad and has served a couple of stints in the Office of Legal Counsel - including, most recently, serving as the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the OLC. He joined the Harvard Law faculty in 1999. According to the NY Times, Barron penned the secret DOJ memo providing support for killing a U.S. citizen, a terrorism suspect, abroad without trial.
Professor Colleen Chien of Santa Clara Law School has been appointed to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). She will be advising Todd Park, the Unites States Chief Technology Officer. Patent policy wonks will be reading the tea leaves on this appointment; her recent report critical of the impact of patent trolls can be found here. Chien is taking a one year leave.
Wendell Pritchett, who has served as Chancellor of Rutgers - Camden since 2009, will be stepping down at the end of this school year. News reports indicate that he will return to the faculty - though he has never actually been on this faculty. He was previously a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania.
Professor Coase, who needs no introduction to readers of this blog, died today at the age of 102. Chicago Law has the announcement here, where an obituary (one of many, no doubt) will appear shortly. H/T to his colleague, Lior Strahilevitz, on Twitter. R.I.P. UPDATE: And colleague Brian Leiter has more here.
On Friday, the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar approved the sale of Fort Worth's Texas Wesleyan Law School to Texas A&M University. It sounds like the schools hope to finalize the agreement next week.
In related news, Dean Royal Furgeson of the University of North Texas School of Law (located in nearby Dallas) was speaking on a panel last week and apparently suggested he'll be asking his Board of Regents to set the school's initial annual tuition at less than $13,000 when it opens its doors in Fall 2014. I have no idea how Texas A&M will price its law degree, but one suspects that Texas is about to become a major subsidizer of legal education.
In the aftermath of Charleston School of Law entering a management agreement with InfiLaw, news is bubbling out of South Carolina suggesting that two public universities - the College of Charleston and Coastal Carolina University - are thinking of making a bid to take over the law school. It's hard to know if there's anything real here or just the immediate backlash to the news about InfiLaw. (Query why the InfiLaw agreement was so shocking; Charleston is, after all, a for-profit law school already.) After all - who knows if the owners even want to sell their school?
A debate is heating up on Canada's left coast. Trinity Western University in British Columbia is seeking to open a law school which would require students to pledge to live up to (their conception of) Christian values by voluntarily abstaining from "sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a
woman." Advocates are out arguing for and against accreditation of the institution. For: National Post commentator Jonathan Kay, arguing that gay students should just go somewhere they'd feel more comfortable and adding that "Canada has not yet become a country that bends to every demand from secular extremists." Against: lawyers Clayton Ruby and Gerald Chan, arguing that the school is imposing a "queer quota" and stating that "Mr. Kay’s solution is to tell homosexual students to go to one of the other law schools. That is precisely what Jews were told in the 1940s and 1950s. Stick to your own kind."
Gay students would be able to attend TWU but not have sex with people of the same sex. In the U.S., of course, religious schools discriminate - not only based on actual sexual acts, but on articulated views about such conduct. I wonder what Ruby and Chan would say about this language from Liberty University:
The School of Law does notdiscriminate on the basis of sexual orientation but does discriminate on the basis of sexual misconduct, including, but not limited to, non-marital sexual relations or the encouragement or advocacy of any form of sexual behavior that would undermine the Christian identity or faith mission of the University.
Query whether this rule is actually consistent with ABA Accreditation Standard 211(c) which provides:
(c) This Standard does not prevent a law school from having a religious afﬁ liation or purpose and
adopting and applying policies of admission of students and employment of faculty and staff
that directly relate to this afﬁ liation or purpose so long as (i) notice of these policies has been
given to applicants, students, faculty, and staff before their afﬁ liation with the law school, and
(ii) the religious afﬁ liation, purpose, or policies do not contravene any other Standard, including
Standard 405(b) concerning academic freedom.
These policies may provide a preference for
persons adhering to the religious afﬁ liation or purpose of the law school, but shall not be applied
to use admission policies or take other action to preclude admission of applicants or retention of students on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age
or disability. This Standard permits religious afﬁliation or purpose policies as to admission,
retention, and employment only to the extent that these policies are protected by the United
States Constitution. It is administered as though the First Amendment of the United States
Constitution governs its application.
And what about Interpretation 211-4?
The denial by a law school of admission to a qualiﬁ ed applicant is treated as made upon the basis of race,
color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability if the basis of denial relied
upon is an admissions qualiﬁ cation of the school which is intended to prevent the admission of applicants
on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability though
not purporting to do so.
The press release is here. The article from the Anchorage Daily News is here. (Nothing special in the Anchorage Daily News; I just like the idea that the ADN editors thought this content would interest its readers. Perhaps they're hoping that InfiLaw will open the state's first law school.)
Over at Leiter, Michael Simkovic - co-author (with Frank McIntyre) of the article The Economic Value of a Law Degree - is doing some in-depth blogging on his article, the methodology, and the critiques. He gives an overview to the ongoing discussion - filled with links here. He responds to the folks at Above the Law here. And he gets extremely detailed in taking on Brian Tamanaha's criticism here and here. I can't help feeling that the pre-commitments of the law school critics are so powerful that this study has thrown them for a loop. I wonder whether Campos and Tamanaha would have more equanimity about the methodology if they didn't have such a horse in this race.
I'm sure this article will stoke a great deal of discussion. And one issue that he doesn't address, but I think is relevant, is the status and protection of full-time, non tenure-track faculty. I'm not sure whether he sees these folks as being comparable to untenured tenure-stream faculty or more akin to adjunct faculty, whom he sees as a better starting point for cutting.
Update: I have removed comments that gratuitously insult people as well as (entirely understandable) blowback to those comments. I know that means that I've deleted substance, but I don't have the ability to edit out insults from otherwise substantive comments. I don't have the energy to track discussion constantly but I'll continue to check in periodically and continue that approach.