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December 31, 2008

What does everyone think about free tuition and other early UC-Irvine innovations?

Last week the AP had this story, headlined "SoCal law school tempts students with free tuition," about the efforts by UC-Irvine to get a flying start with top students in its first class.  Here are snippets from the story:

A new law school opening next fall in Southern California is offering a big incentive to top students who might be thinking twice about the cost of a legal education during the recession: free tuition for three years.

The financial carrot is part of an ambitious strategy by Erwin Chemerinsky, a renowned constitutional law scholar and dean of the new school at the University of California, Irvine, to attract Ivy League-caliber students to the first public university law school in the state in 40 years.

Scholarship winners will be chosen for their potential to emerge three years later as legal stars on the ascendance. Only the best and brightest need apply, but the school hopes to offer full scholarships to all 60 members of its inaugural class in 2009. Subsequent classes will be on a normal tuition basis.

Chemerinsky is convinced the prospect of free education, combined with a public-interest curriculum and the University of California moniker, will quickly fill his first class and eventually land Irvine among the nation's best law schools. "Our goal is to be a top 20 law school from the first time we are ranked," he said....

Chemerinsky said he has made substantial progress toward raising the $6 million needed to fund full scholarships for his inaugural class. He's promising students a unique educational program with hands-on experience in legal clinics and eventual job interviews with more than 70 law firms, public interest law organizations and government offices.

Still, in a society seemingly overloaded with lawyers, the question arises: Do we need another law school to churn out more lawyers? "There isn't a need for another law school like all the rest," Chemerinsky answers. "This is our chance to create the ideal law school for the 21st century."

I have not been following closely the development of UC-Irvine School of Law, but I was intrigued to see lots of talk of innovation at its official website.  In particular, one section of the site discusses "Our Difference" with these entries:

I would be really interested in hearing from anyone following closely the UC-Irvine experiment with early assessments about how things are going there.

Posted by DAB

December 31, 2008 in Deans and innovations | Permalink


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My understanding is that St. Thomas (Minnesota) similarly offered free tuition for its first few entering classes. For a start-up school that can afford it, it's a great way to (1)attract top students, (2) compensate them them for the risk that the school will not be fully accredited when they graduate, and (3) signal to others (prospective students, the ABA, the local legal community, prospective lateral hires) that the new school has staying power.

Posted by: Rick Bales | Jan 2, 2009 12:44:31 PM

There are 1.3 million lawyers. That is 500,000 too many for our population and economy. Each lawyer destroys $1million in economic value a year kept alive. There is no need to generate more by financial incentive.

Chemerinsky is a well known extreme left wing lawyer rent seeking ideologue. He wants to loose vicious predators on minority neighborhoods. He wants to defund all institutions that compete with central government for authority. He wants to plunder all productive entities. He wants to support and enable terrorists, and to prevent any measure that might discourage an attack on America.

By this scheme, he generates an army of lawyers to achieve those ends.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 4, 2009 12:01:18 AM

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