The announcement that 3Ls planning on attending their own graduation have to toss in $55 for the pleasure to do so has highlighted the Law School’s clever use of hidden fees: You enroll for what seems to be a (relatively) reasonable tuition, only to end up being charged for all kinds of things one would have assumed to have been covered by the initial $150,000 price.
Such hidden fees have been off-putting to users of other products, for example, cell phones. The popular solution? Pay-as-you-go phone plans. Why can’t a legal education be similarly consumer-savvy? Accordingly, I suggest that UVA become the world’s first pay-as-you-go law school.
I personally applaud the new graduation fee: If there’s one thing us lawyers need to learn, it’s how to take money from helpless people who are deep in debt and without any other options. We should be thanking UVA Law for teaching us the valuable lesson that when people have already put a lot of money into something, you can just keep charging them for whatever you want and they’re too financially invested to refuse! As for my ideas about a revolutionizing legal schooling, I hope you’ve enjoyed them . . . because there’s a $15 “column fee” for reading this.
...and we wonder why we are being replaced by Legalzoom.com.
Obviously a law school would never dream of offering students a discount. A gross example is Northwestern's decision to charge students in the two-year JD program for three year's worth of law school:
Less time on campus most likely won't mean a break on tuition.
While Northwestern has not yet set the costs for its two-year program, administrators have hinted that fast-track students will be paying somewhere around the $128,016 that students shell out over the course of three years to get a J.D.
"We generally charge by the degree rather than the time served," says Van Zandt. "The real savings will be the extra year of salary students make by getting out into the marketplace faster."
That's around $150,000 and up for most Northwestern Law grads working as first-year associates at top law firms.
I have not experienced any hidden fees at UMN Law School. My school smacks us with a huge tuition bill and then spends the rest of the year mitigating our horror with an aggressive regime of free muffins and pizza. This is a pretty effective tactic so far...