Maybe all those stories about law school being a bad investment are sinking in: law school applications are way down.
The issue has led a Cleveland law school to offer what they're calling the country's first "risk-free" J.D. program.
The Cleveland-Marshall College of Law announced earlier this month that students who decide to drop out after finishing one year won't walk away empty-handed. They'll get a "master of legal studies" degree, without completing any additional cousework.
"This new opportunity removes at least some of the financial and personal risk inherent in a large educational undertaking, and comes at a time when people appreciate more guarantees," Craig Boise, dean of the law school, said in a news release.
And not just legal educators. On the TaxProf Blog, one commenter going by the possibly telling name Unemployed Northeastern asked what sounds like a reasonable question: "If the J.D. is not attractive to employers, why would 1/3 of a J.D. be attractive to employers?"
U.S. News ranked Cleveland-Marshall 115th out of 194 law schools accredited by the American Bar Association. In-state tuition is $23,816 per year, out-of-station tuition is $32,692 per year. Twenty-eight percent of students are employed at graduation, according to U.S. News. (Not relevant, but notably bizarre: Last year, Boise stood accused by Cleveland-Marshall professors of giving "satanic" merit pay bonuses of $666 in relation to staff who served as union organizers; the charge was later dismissed.)
"This new opportunity removes at least some of the financial and personal risk inherent in a large educational undertaking," Boise said in the news release, "and comes at a time when people appreciate more guarantees."
Tell us in the comments: Does this program sound risk-free to you, or is it a sign of the apocalypse (or neither)?