Students Pay To Work

Did you graduate in the past two years? Has your law school done anything to help you find a job? Probably not, but AM Law Daily reports that Duke Law School is making an effort, albeit pathetic, to help a few students find jobs:

Duke Law School is now offering stipends to some of its unemployed graduates, enabling them to work for a couple months and get some experience at no cost to employers.The “Bridge to Practice” program started in 2008 with nine graduates; last year it had 15. This year, Duke expects 30 graduates to participate.

And then there are those who try to profit even more from their recent graduates misery:

Washington University School of Law has started a summer program called “Associate in Training” for 1Ls and 2Ls who don’t have jobs. The six-week program “is loosely modeled on law firm summer associate ships, and includes attorney shadowing, networking, instruction on the business of law firms and other skills training.” The program isn’t free–it costs $8,520.

Hey, what’s another $8,520 when you’ve just flushed $120,000 down the law school toilet? Sallie will lend it to you, and she’ll even compound it for you in a couple years.

I see the solution to the debt and job market as being quite simple: If a student entered law school in part because they relied on the false employment statistics that the schools handed out to lure them in, then the schools need to refund the money if the students are not employed in the legal profession after a year of graduating.

In a perfect world, the law schools would behave responsibly and shut down for a few years, or simply put out accurate employment statistics. But if they want to lie to lure students in, then they need to refund the money. If you bought a car and the dealer promised you 30 mpg, and the car got 10, you’d get a refund and the dealer would do some time. Why should the law schools have a fraud exclusion?

If the law schools are not going to do the right thing and shut down and start refunding tuition, then at the very least they should not be permitted to profit by sinking students deeper into debt with a worthless $8,500 “associate training program.”

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