Yes, you read it right. Law school tuition is going down . . . at least at University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, where Arizona residents will see an 11 percent tuition cut and nonresidents will receive 8 percent reduction.
Why was tuition cut? Simple — the laws of supply and demand. There’s a lot less demand for a law school education now that people realize that a law degree is worth about as much as a Bachelor’s degree in English with a specialization in the Romantic Period. Which is to say that getting a law degree is a roundabout way of applying for a Starbuck’s green apron and an apartment to share with 4 hipster roommates in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
However, we at Comedians at Law applaud anyone’s efforts to reduce the cost of law school, so we’ve come up with some other suggestions on this front:
1. The Salary-Tuition Chained Index: Peg tuition to starting salary. In other words, schools can only charge for the full 3 years of tuition what the median/average starting salary of the graduates of that institution earn. For example, if the median starting salary for graduating Harvard law students is $150,000, well then that’s what 3 years of law school ought to cost.
2. The “Sucky” Law School Discount: From now forward, if your school is ranked below the top 20 (as indicated in US News & World Report) then tuition must be automatically reduced by $5000. Below the top 50, the reduction is $10,000. Below the top 75, the reduction is $20,000. Below the top 100, the reduction is $25,000. Yes, this may cause lower-ranked schools to struggle, but that’s only fair — your students have been struggling for years with the degrees they got from your low-ranked institutions.
3. The Starbucks barista tuition give-back: Noting that so many recent law school grads are working as baristas, and noting how much veryone loves to have their coffee served promptly, efficiently and by someone who can quote the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Constitution, why not create some Starbuck’s-Law School synergy — i.e., for every law student that Starbuck’s is able sign on as an underpaid, overeducated barista, a school will get a $5000 “bonus” which is to be earmarked specifically for tuition reduction. Yes, this does sound a lot like slavery and selling people to Starbuck’s, but we’ll leave it to the legal-eagle, new baristas to figure out whether this is a constitutional violation.
4. Sequester: It worked for Congress, why not law schools? Let’s just all agree that tuition at all law schools will be cut by some number — say 15%. Will it mean that schools will have less money for important things like overpaying deans and junkets to Europe for condescending, tenured professors? Sure. But so what?
5. Groupon: You can get a Groupon for just about anything these days. Why not law school?
6. Amazon.com Law School: Let’s face it — Amazon is the best at offering anything you could possibly want at relatively inexpensive prices and delivering it to you quickly. And, who doesn’t want a law degree, that they can buy cheaply and get delivered overnight?
7. Apple’s iLaw: Always the innovator, Apple will be offering a new way of getting your law school education — a series of podcasts, only available on iTunes (of course) that can only be downloaded to your Mac, iPod or iPhone (of course) and taught by professors who have signed an exclusive deal with Apple (of course). The price of the entire iLaw program will be a modest $10,000 and a signed agreement that you will purchase Apple at least 1 Apple product valued at $1000 per year. Completion of the iLaw program will be known as getting “Jobbed.”
8. Online Open Courses: As people who follow higher learning know, the knew big thing is online, open courses (OOC’s) in which college courses are offered for free on the Internet. Why not do the same for law school? You just sign up, take your courses, and if you can prove that you stayed awake through all of them, you get your degree.
9. Bar Bri: As anyone who’s been to law school knows, you don’t really learn anything till you take your bar review course. And, the cost of that is a fraction of tuition. So, perhaps the easiest solution is to simply confer degrees upon people after they successfully complete Bar Bri.
10. Martial Law Law School: At this institution (sponsored by the NRA), the curriculum is simple — you purchase an assault rifle, a high-capacity magazine, and then you learn how to round people up and detain them without due process, habeas corpus or, indeed, any rights at all. The cost of that is no more than the cost of a weekend of playing Paint-ball, so tuition is kept remarkably low — especially since the school provides you with instructions on how to purchase your gun and ammo through a straw man or at a gun show where there are no expensive bureaucratic procedures, like background checks.