‘Pass law school or your money back’: The new way?

Over the weekend, one headline stood out among the others on the Pulse news-aggregating app: “Paying Students to Quit Law School.”

A radical idea?

According to Yale law professors Akhil Reed Amar and Ian Ayres, yes.

And one that just could help students “protect themselves and reduce[] the government’s risk of unpaid loans in the future.”

Their article, published Nov. 18 at Slate, suggests:

Law schools might analogously offer to rebate half of a student’s first-year tuition if the student opts to quit school at the end of the first year. (If the student has taken out government loans, this rebate would first go to repay this debt.) A half-tuition rebate splits the loss of an aborted legal career between the school and the student. Each has skin in the game, so students will not go to law school lightly, and law schools will have better incentives not to admit students likely to fail.

The idea is to mark the end of the first year, after students have received their grades, as a salient decision-making point. At that time, students will have learned more about their legal abilities and inclinations. Law schools will also have learned more about each student’s abilities, and schools could now disclose how previous students with similar first-year grades fared after graduation.

They compare this to a popular online shoe seller’s method:

At the end of a four-week training course, Zappos offers new employees a one-time offer of $3,000 to quit. In part, the company uses the offer as a screening device. If you’re the type who prefers a quick three grand to the opportunity to work at a great company, then Zappos isn’t the place for you.

The thing is, at least the Zappos people would know who they were working for. And considering Amar and Ayres are “lobbying our dean [Robert C. Post] to unilaterally offer our students a bribe to quit,” this radical idea could just have the Yale board thinking that the authors might want to work somewhere else, too.

1 thought on “‘Pass law school or your money back’: The new way?

  1. Pingback: Law professor’s study suggests cost of law school not worth it | The Michigan Lawyer

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