Law school, as does all of higher education, pushes all the risk on consumers. Yet, there's no labeling: This degree may not yield an ROI, ranging from securing a job to holding onto it to climbing the ladder.
Maybe that should change. In their article in the April 15th edition of THE NEW REPUBLIC, Jacob S. Hacker and Elizabeth Jacobs praise that Hyundai, JetBlue and Bank of America are sharing risk with consumers. If the latter lose their full-time jobs, the companies will take back the car, refund the airline ticket, and hold off on the mortgage for up to a year. Couldn't higher education do something similar to spread the risk involved in the enormous investment students and their families make in pursuing degrees?
Unemployed MBA Matthew Vultro muses in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL's "Laid Off and Looking," that he "can't help but feel like education is the biggest scam going." He even hedged his bets by obtaining his degree at night while he worked full time. Yet, he perceives no value derived from it. As a swim coach, he advises youth to find something they love to do, do it, learn as much as they can, and probably degrees or the lack of them will prove irrelevant.
Perhaps the whole higher education industry, like banking, should be brought to the woodshed, spanked, and warned to be accountable in the future. Better yet, maybe it should be restructured to facilitate apprentice programs. That approach to learning the law worked just fine for Abe Lincoln.
Hacker and Jacobs observe, "We're not just facing a short-term financial crisis; we are facing a fundamental shift in our economy that has pushed more and more risk onto Americans' backs." Too many, including unemployed JDs with heavy debt from student loans, are breaking under that unfair burden.