It’s really expensive.
Wait…what? Yes, I know, I’ve previously covered how expensive law school is, and how you’d be better off spending the money to buy a house in Vegas and gorge on pizza, whiskey and hookers. But, here’s a whole new angle to just how ridiculously expensive law school is.
Quick refresher of just how much a single year of tuition is at a few schools:
Notre Dame: $39,000
I think you get the idea.
The ABA requires you to park your ass in front of an over-paid douche bag for 56,000 minutes to get your paper. That is, roughly 933 hours. So, if your school costs you $30,000 in tuition per year, which is pretty low, it comes out to about $96 per hour to get educated. (If you came up with $32/hr, you forgot that law school is three years.) On the cheaper end, if you spent $20,000 a year, it would cost $64 an hour. And, at the extreme high end, in the $48,000 range, we’re looking at $156 an hour.
As I discussed just a few days ago, there’s these classes that lawyers are required to take called Continuing Legal Education (CLE). They basically cover changes in the law as well as basic stuff you should have learned in law school. The one I attended on Friday cost $310 and had 6 hours of instruction. So, you were getting legally educated at the low price of $52/hr. That’s cheaper than all but a few schools that offer deep discounts for in-state tuition, and it’s a whole helluva lot less of the more common $96/hr price tag.
But, maybe the class I took was unusual. We should look at a few other CLE classes and get their prices. After all, the class was in Alabama, and we can expect the prices to be cheaper here.
Tomorrow (and the next day), there is a CLE in New York on Current Issues in Immigration Law for US Employers. It costs $455 for a whopping 15.5 hours of CLE credit. $29/hr. Wow. And, if you’re a member of the New York State Bar Association, it’s only $23/hr.
There’s also a drunk driving litigation CLE coming up in New York. 10.5 credit for $430. $41/hr, or $29/hr with membership discount.
These are some pretty big bundles though, so maybe I should look at how much it costs to get smaller sessions.
NYSBA has a Landlord and Tenant Practice CLE that’s only 2 hours long and costs…oh, shit… it’s free.
Okay, here we go, ethics issues for solo practitioners, 3 hours at the price of $210. $70/hr ($47/hr for members). That’s more like it!
So, there are some high priced CLEs out there after all. They’re tough to find, but they do exist. Of course, the really expensive CLEs are still less than half the price of the high-end law schools. LESS THAN HALF.
Oh, and get this, your CLEs include hand outs. They basically come with the text book. And mine last week also came with breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack, a flash drive with a copy of the printed materials (great for allowing electronic searches), and a parking token. That’s right, a fracking $5 parking token so we got to park in the garage attached to the building for free. BOOYA. Good luck getting such a complete package from your law school classes.
But really, there’s one big concept that makes the law school prices just completely outrageous:
Economy. Of. Scale.
CLEs, just like law school, require facilities (rented, instead of owned), websites, administrative staff, tech support, the whole works. But, if you know anything about how economics works, you know that as you provide a service to a larger group, it becomes cheaper. So, you would think law schools, which often times have well over 1000 JD students (and then more LLMs) would be able to offer legal education at a much cheaper rate. And, with CLEs you get a cheaper rate when you buy a big whole day, or even two-day package. Basically, a bulk discount. So, you’d think a 3-year package should be super cheap. Law school should be the Costco or Sam’s Club of legal education.
Why the fuck isn’t it?