What I did was use an estimated total of student expenditures on law school, starting with the full cost of attendance at repayment for individuals and subtracting out an estimated amount of per-student discount. For this model, I don't care who is paying, just that money is likely changing hands. (After all, money invested in a legal education could've been spent or invested elsewhere).
I then took the aggregate total of estimated expenditures by the total student body to attend said institution for three years and simply divided it by the number of bar passage required jobs.
You might think "this looks bogus" or "aren't you forgetting some stuff/making a few assumptions," but I can assure you that I'm strongly interested in methodological rigor. I thought about it over a lunchtime, and my conclusions are as valid as the "million dollar law degree" that is now empirical fact. And because million dollar law degrees are a fact, attending each of these institutions is still an economically productive activity at modest inflation rates.
Here's the top 20:
|Law School||Expenditures/ FT/LT BPR|
|WMU/Thomas M Cooley||$766,592.20|
|Western New England||$544,779.49|
|New York Law School||$540,442.91|
|District of Columbia||$509,185.18|
Why, yes, I did just find another way to show how awesome law schools are. Example: for every Golden Gate 2014 graduate who found a full-time, bar passage required job with 10 months, the student body of Golden Gate collectively paid a crudely-estimated $600,000 in expenses.
If you'd like to know what the worst law schools are in terms of totally bilking everyone involved, just pick a random public school in the middle of nowhere. Further research would be wise to adjust these numbers by geography. For example, the worst-scoring schools on the list were the University of Montana and the University of Nebraska, who combine offensively-low costs of living with above-average job placement (Nebraska claims 90 of 117 graduates in bar passage required...). Things like this are why the economies of Montana and Nebraska are lagging far, far behind California, Illinois, and New York. In any event, even at those schools, the expendatures/job numbers are in excess of $125,000.00, in areas with much lower costs of living.
And while we're talking about money, I'd like a moment to disclose that this blog is, in fact, fully funded (that means my hookers are clean) by an arch-conservative foundation and/or reactionary group. Have fun guessing which one!