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Zombie Law Schools

February 16, 2013

Last week in Concurring Opinions: “Zombie Law Schools” by Gerard Magliocca proposed that the reputation concerns of universities makes law schools too big to fail:

Everybody knows that law school applications are way down. You would think that this would lead to a contraction in law schools. But that has not happened. Instead, MORE law schools are opening. … any law school that is connected to a university will not be allowed to fail, even if the same school standing alone would. These zombie law schools are going to prevent the market from clearing, with adverse consequences for faculty and students.

This post produced a number of insightful comments, “Howard Wasserman” wrote:

So, law schools are the academic equivalent of the football program.

But “Joaqin Dead” attacks the metaphor:

I write to resist the inexact or undertheorized use of “zombie law schools.” You mean that they are hard to kill, I think, and perhaps ought be dead or never born. But a “zombie” nature should be attached to things that were once alive and now persist in some state of being despite an intervening loss of life. This is a poor way of describing things that are being newly born despite hazardous living conditions, even if they are hard to kill or susceptible to a mysterious contagion.

Then this week in Am Law Daily: “How Grad PLUS Loans Sustain Zombie Law Schools” by Matt Leichter about “law school as an investment” and the federal subsidies.


Leichter is author of LawSchoolTuitionBubble
and posted link to his American Lawyer article on his own blog, LawSchoolTuitionBubble along with a song by Heather Christian & The Arbornauts about singing your heart out, taking years to get here and wanting to go home now. The article was also reblogged by Tax Prof Blog.

On the subject of zombie law schools, recall also: “Puppies make “zombie-like law students” smile“. Puppies are one of many possible zombie cures. And recall Cornell Law Professor Jacobson about Pro Zombie bumper stickers – Prof. Jacobson is author of Legal Insurrection blog.

NOTE: These arguments about tuition bubbles and federal subsidies are not limited to law schools. The entire education system has been contaminated with federal money (among other contaminants).

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