Former New York Law School Dean Richard Matasar on legal education:
I sometimes talk about an education in terms that analogize it to a car — I give a talk to every first year student here that says coming to law school is like buying a brand new Mercedes-Benz every year on credit and pushing it off a cliff. But that metaphor isn’t true. Unlike each Mercedes-Benz you buy, a year of law school takes you toward a lifelong career and the ability to practice law.
Education is not a commodity. It’s not a product. It’s a process of learning and becoming more than what you are before you start. The question becomes: If you are going to create an educational product for the student and equip them with the skills, and it’s going to be expensive anyway, do you want it to be expensive and crappy or expensive and good? We’ve come to the conclusion that our first responsibility is to be as good as we can be.
That’s true, but this is not a market when any student who comes to law school believes that the path is golden. The claims that, “I was so surprised to find out not every student gets a job at $160,000 a year,” might have been significantly more credible three or four years ago. We are very forthright with our students about the job expectations they have….Students are not stupid and they’re not naive. The testimonials we hear from students are very different from the stories that show up in the blogs, which is from a very dissatisfied group of students.
When I started law school in 2006 I was led to believe that a job paying $160k a year was expected. Naivety.