Tuition: For the 2009-2010 school year, tuition and fees - for a full-time Mercer law student - amount to a very reasonable $34,330. After all, who can’t afford to spend about $105K for a world-class “legal education”? (It is world class, isn’t it?)
Total Cost of Attendance: A full-time student at this prestigious, southern law school will incur another $16,000 in living expenses for the 2009-2010 academic year. Since the school lists monthly living expenses for the academic year, we will be nice and multiply the school’s figures for rent, food, utilities, transportation and personal expenses by a factor of nine. We will also add $2230 - the school’s estimate for books, health insurance and Stafford Loan fees. Doing so, we reach a total estimated COA of $50,330 per year for a full-time Mercer law student.
If we want the student’s living expenses to reflect reality, this figure would amount to $54,920. This also seems more accurate, seeing that an actual law student will have living expenses for 12 months out of the year.
Ranking: After such immense costs to the student, surely the school has a sterling reputation. I mean, the school needs to justify these costs, correct?! Well…according to a little publication called US News & World Report, Mercer Law School is in the third tier of American law diploma mills, i.e. it is a third tier toilet.
Employment Prospects: Okay, Mercer is a TTT. Let’s accept that and move on. Look, 86.8% of Mercer’s Class of 2008 was employed (or seeking an advanced degree) within nine months of graduation. And only 7.59 percent of this class was unemployed and seeking work. (But, don’t mind those people. They probably aren’t trying hard enough or “networking”. You, with your 3.4 GPA in Women’s Studies, will be different, right?!)
Go to page 3 of this PDF. Only 79.37% of survey respondents reported their salaries to the Career Development Office. Based on this sampling, the school alleges that the average salary for all graduates – from the Class of 2008 - was $71,906. I wonder what these figures would look like if the remaining 20.63 percent had supplied their info. It seems plausible that those who make a pittance might be too embarrassed to report their salary info to this magnanimous institution of higher education.
Let’s see what the school has working for it.
Ooh! Behold the law school’s Trophy Case – to display its prowess in moot court, i.e. fake court, competitions. Wow! The program was a finalist in the 2008-2009 Weschler Buffalo Moot Court Competition. Are you kidding me?!? This program is amazing, as it has sustained success in the Gabrielli National Family Law Competition. (Of course, the guy swiping your Food Stamp card might not be so thrilled with your moot court success. Who knows? He might be a Mercer JD, as well.)
Unfortunately, for the purposes of finding gainful employment, nobody with an IQ above 65 cares that you wrote onto the Journal of Southern Legal History.
But, at least you get to take part in the school’s laptop program! Is Harvard willing to give their incoming first year students a laptop? Ask yourself that. (Mercer’s laptop even comes with a Nylon Carrying Case!)
Look, the school was ranked sixth among public interest law schools, by PreLaw magazine, a pro-industry rag – in its Fall 2008 issue. At least, PreLaw magazine comes in handy when you run out of toilet paper.
Conclusion: This school simply charges too much to justify its 86.8 percent placement rate. You will also be competing against students from stronger law schools in the area, i.e. Emory, U. of Georgia, Georgia State. And don’t forget regional powerhouses such as Duke, UNC, U. of Tennessee, Vanderbilt, etc. Many of these schools are also much cheaper to attend. In sum, attending this school is a poor decision. On top of this, the school also shoves “public interest” onto its students. If you want to “save the world,” you can do so without going $110K-$160K in non-dischargeable debt.