Thursday, January 21, 2010

ABA Accreditation Fee List

This list shows the names and locations of eleven proposed law schools, in the United States. Because we need MORE law schools so badly, right?!?!

This ABA Journal article, from 2008, notes that there were plans for up to ten new law schools to be built or opened. So, naturally, I wanted to see what the American Biglaw Association charges each potential, new law school. For that, we go to the ABA’s website (thanks to a reader for this link):

Look at the fee for an Application for Provisional Approval (each application): $26,000. If you are planning on opening a law school and seek a full-site evaluation, the ABA will be happy to relieve you of $12,000. Limited site evaluation? No problem! Just write out a check to the ABA in the amount of $6000.

What about schools that buy up existing, non-accredited law schools? Do they get a discount on full-site evaluation? I wouldn’t count on it.

Look at the amounts charged annually for fully-approved law schools. “Does your school have a full-time enrollment of less than 500 students? Give us $4,810.” “Is the diploma factory’s FTE more than 500 but less than 800 students? Write us a check for $6,190.” “Is the diploma mill’s FTE more than 800 students? That’ll be $8,110. Hand it over!”

If the average school’s full-time enrollment is in the middle range, the ABA would be raking in about $1,238,000 annually – just from those schools that are already fully-accredited.

Remember, the NALP noted that there were 43,587 JDs pumped out in 2008. For the same year, the ABA lists 43,588 new law graduates. Do we really need ten or eleven more law schools? Do the math.

The ABA continues to accredit or provisionally approve more law schools, because it can make some money off this scheme. And new law schools figure that they will break even by their third year of operation.

Plus, this is a drop in the bucket for many law schools. Just look at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in Memphis, TN. It exceeded its $12 million fundraising goal by $547,000 (thank you Angel, for your entry on this).

The schools also don’t care that many of their graduates will never practice law, or be able to repay their student loans. Remember, the schools charge for their services up front. Just like hookers do. But, the schools won’t leave their customers quite as satisfied.


  1. I don't know, it seems like most of the blog authors demonstrate the sense of regret, self-loathing, and hatred for the "hooker" afterwards.

  2. The ABA doesn't stand for attorney's rights. It's it's own entity that works for profit. I think Lawyers ought to Unionize and picket in front of law schools with big rats. Construction workers do it.. why shouldn't we?

  3. Good comparison of hookers to law schools and the ABA. I know when I think of my TTT mill, I need to take a shower just to cleanse myself.

  4. Enough about hookers, kids. But it is important to note that a new lawschool like the one in Memphis can easily raise $12m, so it is no problem for them to pay the application and site fees. And I agree that the ABA is happy to skim some money off the top. It's a business, and these guys know what they're doing. The students are just customers - get 'em in, remove them from their money, and get them out so you can do the same thing to the next incoming group or suckers.

  5. You must have a decent job if you can afford hookers.

  6. bwhahahahahahah
    this is why I keep coming back to your blog (the last line of your post :)

  7. The ABA is, and always has been, in the pockets of corporate America/Biglaw. The ABA frowns on schools that employ a large percentage of adjunct professors, i.e. men and women who have actually spent decades (not 2-3 years) practicing law.

    As a result of this arrangement, law school is designed to enrich the overpaid, under-worked legal theorists masquerading as "professors." It is also meant to take care of the deans and administration. Law school is CERTAINLY NOT designed to prepare law students to hit the ground running as lawyers. The curriculum is stale, and the Case Method is about the cheapest way to "teach" a room of 75 students. Heaven forbid that the schools actually spend some of their loot on providing hands-on clinical programs.

    Schools are reticent to change. Law profs like to expound on theory, and having the time to write obscure law review articles (which are usually read by about 12 fellow nerds).

    Such a system molds law students into replaceable parts of the machine. (Many students are bland, condescending, and about as creative as a bag of peanut shells.) This makes it easier for Biglaw to dump skilled associates - as the large firms KNOW that there are hundreds or thousands out there just as talented and willing to work as well-paid slaves.

  8. I agree with you Nando. Go into law school a human, come out a machine.

  9. Wow. Great research, Nando! What is surprising is that the ABA has such a direct financial interest in increasing the number of law schools because it accepts over a million dollars a year in fees from them. This seems like it might have the appearance of a conflict of interest - that the ABA might be tempted to accredit more schools to boost their fees.

    Is there a way to contrast the ABA's practice with regard to fee collecion with the practices of, say, the AMA or dental association? It would be reasonable that the ABA would wish to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest if another viable approach was available. Conversely, if another viable approach was available and the ABA refused it, it would seem to lend mroe credence to the proposition that there is a conflict of interest.


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