Sunday, May 15, 2016

Citizens of Minnesota Investing in Legal Education

Minnesota - a state of 5.5 million people now somehow functioning with only 3.5 law schools - understands the importance of legal education and the need to bankroll tomorrow's jurisprudence (indeed, the Rule of Law itself) by directing stupidly insane amounts of public money to pseudo-prestigious second-tier schools despite any temporary market ambivalence.

Consider the University of Minnesota Law School.  Between being associated with a reputable state flagship school and being the number one law school in the fourteenth (14th!) largest metro area in the United States, ranking agencies and students have historically ignored the minor inconveniences of the frozen urethra and a regional saturation of justice warriors.

As a result, Minnesota remains one of the strongest law school brand names in the Midwest.  If Mitchell Hamline can rake in a million dollar premium over the life of a lawyer, U. of M graduates are probably looking at 1.2.  That's a lot of space heaters, kids.

Unfortunately, something has scared off the lemmings.
The number of law school applicants nationwide has plummeted, to 51,000 as of April from 88,700 in 2006, according to the Law School Admissions Council. The Great Lakes region has been hit particularly hard, catching respected institutions like Minnesota by surprise when applicant numbers went into a tailspin.
But even though public interest is being tempered by temporary irrationality, the State of Minnesota understands the importance of the Harvard of Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Minnesota has gradually admitted fewer students, shrinking its first-year class to only 174 in the 2015 academic year from more than 250 a few years ago. It offset the sharp loss in tuition income with more public subsidies, which in Minnesota are decided by a Board of Regents.

Minnesota’s law school has closed its deficits with university money — expected to total $16.1 million through 2018 — according to university officials.

“The law school is a crucial part of the university,” said Karen Hanson, the university’s provost. “We did not want to hurt the law school’s standing.”
$16.1 million.  Ignoring some variables that would get in the way of an otherwise good point, every man, woman, and child in Minnesota has effectively given the University of Minnesota Law School an extra $2.92 cash injection, as if out of their own pockets to donate to lawyerdom.

While far from sufficient to greedy hands, it is certainly appreciated.  I ask all ardent supporters of law school wealth transfer systems to thank every single Minnesotan you see for their generosity and support.  Make a hashtag or something.  Your three dollars no doubt makes the difference between Minnesota having a top 25 law school and having a top 30 law school.

Unfortunately, things may not stay so excellent for very long if the lemmings mysteriously continue to not take the delicious bait:
Applications for the fall are flat. More worrisome is that Minnesota in recent years has had one of the largest declines in applicants among the top 20 law schools, but no one knows exactly why.

“We’re trying to figure that out,” said Mr. Wippman, who is leaving for another job at the end of the academic year. 
Dean Whippman is leaving to become the president of Hamilton College.  As we all know, Hamilton College does not have a law school, so it's likely best that his massive intellectual faculties be spent elsewhere other than trying to Sherlock why 165 LSAT-level students are no longer interested in moving to Minnesota to study law for three years when they can go almost literally anywhere else.

However, some people still have the free time to navigate such mental labyrinths:
“People are turned off on legal education because of a lack of suitable paying jobs,” [Walter] Mondale said. “I don’t think you can underestimate the havoc that these law school debts can cause.”
Yeah, well, your analysis got you the vice presidency in a crappy administration.  Eat a dick.  (Thanks for the cash, though.)

There's no havoc, folks.  Plenty of jobs for great students.  You can't go wrong here - it's the University of freakin' Minnesota.  A top 25 law school!  If million dollar degrees mean anything, this is the safest bet since putting cash on the Washington Capitals.

And that's why the fine Citizens of Minnesota are going to use dollars to patch the cruise ship and keep it afloat in the high seas of prestige until this typhoon blows over.  After that, it's smooth sailing and profits for all.

1 comment:

  1. While he got smoked by Ronald Reagan in the 1984 general elecTTTion, he was VP for four years. At least, we have him on record as stating that a "legal education" can wreak havoc on the graduates.