Thursday, February 19, 2015

More signs of the times: major restructuring at Washington & Lee

A rather detailed announcement from the University; excerpts:

  • Beginning with the 2015-16 academic year, the school will enroll entering 1L classes of about 100 students, resulting in a full-time student body of about 300. For comparison's sake, the current law school student body is 374 and includes the largest third-year class in school history. The Class of 2017, which entered last fall, had 101 members....
  • In October 2014, the Board of Trustees authorized an increase in the payout from the law school's endowment income to 7.5 percent through 2017-18. This will add about $3 million to the law school budget in 2015-16. [BL note:  typical endowment payouts are in the 4 to 4.5% range]...
  • The current student-faculty ratio (9:1) will be preserved, but with smaller enrollments the allocation for faculty compensation will be reduced by about 20 percent (equivalent to six positions) and will be achieved through attrition over the four-year period. In addition, some senior faculty salaries will have a one-time salary reduction of 2 percent with salaries frozen for all faculty during the three-year period.... 
  • Operating budgets will be reduced by 10 percent in 2015-16 with the exception of the library budget, which will grow by 2 percent.
  • Although the financial model currently shows operating deficits for 2014-15 through 2017-18, the law school budget is projected to be back in balance by the 2018-19 academic year....

With a university-wide endowment of about $1.5 billion and only about 3,000 students undergraduate and graduate, Washington & Lee is quite a wealthy university--though how much of the endowment is for the law school is unclear, though I'm guessing a sizable amount.  (Here are 2000 figures, and most of the endowments on that list have roughly doubled since.)  A well-established law school (a member of the AALS since 1920!), Washington & Lee was most recently ranked 43rd in USNEWS.COM, though has ranked higher in prior years (sometimes in the top 25ish).  I would imagine similarly dramatic changes are taking place elsewhere with perhaps less publicity about them.

http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2015/02/more-signs-of-the-times-major-restructuring-at-washington-lee.html

Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink