April 6, 2013
There's a national dialogue going on about legal education. At its core is the question, "Is law school worth the cost?"
In light of a tough employment market, changes in the practice of law, and mounting student debt, the 'sticker price' of legal education is causing some to question whether they can follow their dreams of becoming lawyers or they should choose different career paths instead. As you may have read, law school applications have sharply declined at almost every American law school across the country.
To deal with the challenges faced by our students, we have significantly reduced our tuition, and we're the first law school in the country to do so. Starting in 2013, tuition will be cut by almost 11% for in-state students and 8% for non-residents. Whether you are starting as a 1L, transferring from another school, or continuing at Arizona Law, this makes your legal education a lower-cost, higher-value proposition.
* Our quality is staying the same, but you stand to save money. We are a strong law school that consistently ranks in the top tier of American law schools and draws from the top 15% of the national applicant pool.
* Arizona's 3L Bar Pilot Project will let students sit for the Arizona exam in February of their final semester, with results in the early summer. Students can seek employment months earlier than summer bar takers, or take another state's bar exam in the summer.
* Our employment numbers remain strong for the jobs that count -- long-term, permanent positions requiring bar passage. And we're involving greater numbers of our alumni nationwide in helping students get exposure, experience, and jobs.
* We're making the curriculum changes that maximize employment opportunity, implementing plans to 'meet the market' in growing areas like intellectual property and environmental/natural resources law. We're emphasizing experiential learning, building on already-mature programs, such as our 1L summer experience and our lauded judicial clerkship programs. And in spring of 2014, we'll be piloting a special 'theory to practice residency' we’re developing with practitioners, judges, alumni and students.
* We've paid attention to the increasing globalization of law. We believe that the most successful graduates will be those who understand the many contexts in which international and intercultural issues arise. Our signature programs -- in International Trade & Business Law and Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy (with both domestic and international dimensions) expand your opportunities. Our JD with Advanced Standing Program (JDAS) gives you the chance to learn about law from an international perspective.
Though the original question, "Is law school worth the cost?" is one you must ultimately answer yourself, we'll continue to do everything we can to make the answer an honest, resounding "yes."