Friday, December 6, 2013
With the caveat that Standard & Poor's track record is pretty abysmal, I should note that their latest credit report on U.S. law schools notes that stand-alone law schools are most vulnerable in the current economic climate for legal education. This is hardly surprising, but I guess now it's "official" in the make-believe world of financial analysis. S&P did not evaluate all law schools, let alone all stand-alone law schools, but they singled out five stand-alones for credit downgrades: New York, Brooklyn, Albany, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Cooley. Of these, my guess is that Thomas Jefferson is the most vulnerable, especially given the continuing lawsuit, but also given its market position as the third best law school in San Diego (after USD and Cal Western, both well-established), and its even weaker position in Southern California (where UCLA, USC, and, probably soon, UC-Irvine will dominate, while Loyola-LA, and Pepperdine are powerful regional players--I have less sense of the relative positions of Whittier and Southwestern, but they are better-established than Thomas Jefferson). Credit downgrades notwithstanding, I fully expect New York, Brooklyn and Albany to be training lawyers ten years from now. Thomas Cooley's business model is a bit opaque to me, so I venture no opinion!
(Thanks to Dean Rowan for the pointer.)