On law schools and institutional crisis

Bill Henderson has previously said that he expects big layoffs at law schools this fall – presumably thinking that there will be a huge overall revenue shortfall, but that schools won’t know, until opening day, just how bad their own situations look. We will soon be able to test Bill’s crystal ball. But the Catholic University story should wake up a much wider swath of academics to the impact of the current law school crisis. At universities highly dependent on law school revenue – apparently, Catholic U is among those schools – the crisis will eat directly into the budgets of other programs. But where law schools are break-even propositions – the many law schools where overhead covers just that – the reality that law schools actually need institutional subsidies (just like almost every other college in a larger school) may mean that the universities may more critically question the need for a law school…and may empower the university to impose its will and priorities on law schools that were previously very independent.

Dan Filler


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