The Boston Herald reported, “Tuition and housing costs are nearly $60,000 a year at Boston College Law School. The school’s website says 97.6 percent of the class of 2009 got jobs in law firms, government, business or academia with a median ‘private sector’ salary of $160,000; $35,000 in the ‘public sector,’ and $57,000 in ‘government.’”
But what about that 2.4 percent of Boston College law students who paid nearly $60,000 a year – for three years – and did not find a job?
More especially, what about that third-year Boston College law student – whose identity the Herald did not disclose – who has written university administration asking them to keep his degree and refund his $180,000 tuition and expenses?
In an open letter to Boston College Law School interim Dean George Brown posted on Eagle-Eye Online – an online student-run newspaper at Boston College’s law school – the anonymous, dissatisfied customer said soon-to-be grads are about to enter “one of the worst job markets in the history of our profession,” and an “overwhelming majority” of them can’t find jobs.
“We are discouraged, scared and in many cases, feeling rather hopeless about our chances of ever getting to practice law,” the student wrote.
The law student’s missive then proposed a “solution to this problem.”
The student offered to leave law school without a degree at the end of the semester in exchange for a full tuition refund – a move the erstwhile aspiring attorney says would help Boston College’s U.S. News ranking, because it wouldn’t have to report another graduate’s state of unemployment.
I believe this is an absolutely intriguing idea – as well as something of a long-needed moral questioning. Is it moral for Boston College Law to accept $180,000 from students – with no guarantee of refunds if this law school fails to obtain them a position as an attorney – who have not only paid lots of money, but have also spent three years of intense and heavily demanding level of study and research?
The Herald reports, “BC is not warm to the idea,” which seems to be a wallowing understatement.
“The law school said in a statement yesterday it is ‘deeply concerned’ about its students’ job prospects but no institution of higher education can guarantee a job after graduation.
“‘What we can do is provide the best education possible, and work together to provide as many career opportunities as possible,’ the statement said.”
Question: How many BC staffers are assigned to help graduates get jobs? Maybe it is now time for universities – and especially such high-priced law schools as Boston College – to be obliged to assist its graduates in obtaining new jobs.
By assist, I mean successfully assist in helping the graduate obtain a legal position. That or in its failure to do so – refund that $180,000!
The Herald also reports: “Glenn Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor who blogs at InstaPundit.com, said that the job market for law students has weakened considerably over the last few years, mostly in the Northeast and on the West Coast.
“Reynolds offered this advice pro-bono: ‘Can somebody actually get a refund for their tuition money? He’s not going to win a lawsuit.’
“Cornell Law School professor and LegalInsurrection.com blogger William Jacobsen said: ‘I doubt they guaranteed him a particular job or level of income upon graduation, so I don’t see what his claim would be.’”
That statement illustrates the outrage of a graduate school accepting $180,000 from a law student who was willing to pay this large amount in order to be able to practice law.
But this law school is unwilling to refund all that money – even if he can’t find a job doing what he paid them so much to learn to do. Professor Reynolds went on to note that this law student’s letter “‘underscores the plight’ of a lot of people who’ve gone to expensive, private law schools with the expectation that they’d have a decent shot of landing a ‘good-paying job’ if they did reasonably well.”
“‘Now they have all these student loan debts that they can’t even escape in bankruptcy, and their employment prospects look a lot bleaker than they looked when they were enrolled,’ Reynolds said.”
So will the Massachusetts Legislature – a heavily Democrat-dominated organization – do anything at all about the outrage of graduate schools that accept $60,000 a year from students and that neither guarantee nor even try to provide adequate staff help in obtaining legal employment?