Last month I wrote an article, When the Numbers Don’t Add Up: Vermont Law School’s Tenured Faculty Purge and What It Portends. It cast a harsh light on the economics of Vermont Law School (VLS), noting the all-in $70K annual cost of attendance, $122K national average law grad debt; 2.71 times adjusted-for-inflation cost of law school over the past 3 decades; lack of practice readiness or augmented skills possessed by most law grads; a harsh job market; and the folly that all law schools should cost the same or prepare students for identical careers. The dire straits of Vermont Law School—those that lost their jobs and remaining students that will be impacted by the fallout–is no cause for celebration. It does demand sober reflection and prompt action by the ABA and the legal Academy, because, VLS is the tip of the spear.
Kevin Colangelo (herein the author) published a response, Widening the Lens on Vermont Law School, to my article and others focused on VLS. While the author’s title purports to apply a “wider lens” to the subject, it narrows the focus to his personal experience and fond memories of Vermont Law School. He also chronicles some steps the institution has taken to get ahead of the curve in a time of unparalleled legal industry change. Conspicuously absent is a focus on VLS’s finances apart from mention that it is a stand-alone law school in a rural setting that has a meager endowment.
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