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.
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.