Saturday the New York Times ran this editorial on “The Law School Debt Crisis.” The editorial focuses on for profit Florida Coastal School of Law, which the Times labels a ‘scam.’

As for the cause of the crisis, the Times points to the 2006 extension of the federal Direct PLUS Loan Program, which allows law school students to borrow 100% of tuition and living expenses. In response, law schools raised tuition and accepted more students. law school

Then the financial crisis hit. Law school graduates stopped getting jobs and law schools had to start honestly reporting hiring numbers for graduates. The result was many smart people who used to go to law school now avoid it.

Now, it’s not the smart kids who are going to law school: in 2014 the average multi-state score on the bar exam was the lowest in 25 years.

So how to stem the tide of growing numbers of dumb lawyers with mountains of debt who can’t find jobs?

Forget the Obama administration’s solution. Forget the Times’ suggestions. It’s all too complicated.

Here’s my solution: make law school student-loan debt dischargeable in bankruptcy. That would kill the Florida Coastal law schools of the world and drastically reduce the number of law students overall.

  • Gulf Stream

    I sat for the Alabama Bar in 2014, and Miles and Birmingham had passage rates of 5% and 30% respectively. For this past bar exam, their rates were 4.5% and 19.5%. Miles had one student pass each exam. How they keep their doors open — wait, let me rephrase that — how the government allows them to keep their doors open is anybody’s guess.

    • Ian

      The real solution to the problem is that student loans are guaranteed by government. If the loans were not guaranteed, and lending institutions had risk, the solution is solved – student loan money would no longer be accessible to hte masses unless they were appropriate risks. This means no more law students with 138 LSAT scores.

      The counter argument is that poor people would not have a chance to obtain degrees in post secondary education. At this time, on the economy of scale, the country would benefit from less lawyers, thus having fewer lawyers would outweigh the con of decreased access to higher education for poorer people. Additionally, and as Judge Smails eloquently told us in “Caddyshack” – “The world needs ditchdiggers too.”

      • Gulf Stream

        I bet ditchdiggers get off at 5:00 most days

    • The ABA isn’t supposed to accredit any school with such low rates. Surprisingly, self-policing isn’t working out.

  • Lee

    Miles and Birmingham School of Law are not ABA approved and charge a fraction of Florida Coastal’s tuition. However, ABA approval is certainly no guarantee of a quality and more importantly relevant legal education.