November 20, 2011

"Paying Students To Quit Law School."

A proposal from 2 Yale lawprofs Akhil Reed Amar and Ian Ayres.
Consider the innovative employment policy of the Internet shoe seller Zappos. At the end of a four-week training course, Zappos offers new employees a one-time offer of $3,000 to quit. In part, the company uses the offer as a screening device. If you’re the type who prefers a quick three grand to the opportunity to work at a great company, then Zappos isn’t the place for you.
Is a year of law school analogous to a training course at Zappos? Zappos is paying people to bail out on a job they already have. Law students have to find jobs. And when they leave after one year, they have still acquired one year of law training. So the Amar-Ayres proposal has to include some contractual limitations imposed on the students:
Students accepting the offer would be choosing to quit not just their school, but the pursuit of a law degree. Anyone who took the money but re-enrolled in another law school—within, say, five years—would have to repay the rebate. 
We're going to monitor these dissatisfied customers and get after them if they decide, after a couple years off, that they want to finish their degrees?
This would guard against the risk that good students would take the rebate and transfer to another school just to reduce their cost of becoming a lawyer.
Oh, yes, there are also the satisfied but devious students to worry about!
After a few years, law schools could disclose what proportion of students, with varying grade profiles, accepted the rebate offer. They could even disclose the salaries of the former students who had accepted the rebate offer and left the school. This comparative disclosure would provide applicants with powerful new information to make better decisions about whether to continue their legal careers. 
New statistics to disclose. You know what that means: New statistics to manipulate.

17 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

Occupy tuition financing!

Oh, wait. They already did that.

Well, how about we start a general program to pay youngsters to quit school and learn a trade? That'd be money better spent than the stimulus.

jimbino said...

We ought to pay kindergartners to quit public school altogether. Think how much money we'd save and how much more we bright kids would accomplish once relieved of the obligation to spend the next 13 years in public school with dolts for teachers and colleagues!

rhhardin said...

First let's kill all the shoe salesmen.

Henry said...

Key graf:

For example, how did previous applicants with low entering test scores and college grades fare after graduation? Anyone who starts law school with less than a 50 percent chance of passing the bar within three years of graduation should be required to sign a special waiver that he has been informed about the riskiness of his education investment.

Hello, lawsuit.

* * *

This is a foul piece of work -- the substitution of group averages for individual potential. It is a technocratic view of human beings, the same technocratic view that has destroyed hedge funds and bank ledgers across the world.

How about just giving every student a copy of Faust and a pistol with a single bullet in it. That should make the point.

The commonplace view of sabermetrics -- the statistical analysis of sports performance -- is that it is about isolating inanities. How does Robison Cano perform on cloudy days? The truth is that sabermetrics describes an extraordinary humble of the view of the word: most of the time we don't know what people can do.

Craig said...

Marriage is one alternative to defaulting on student loans. An offer of acceptance for admission to a law school should entitle borrowers to a three year deferral of student loan repayments, whether or not they decide to attend law school.

EDH said...

Crucifixion on the quad would lend itself to greater transparency.

MadisonMan said...

Why not just make the classes hard so people flunk out?

George Spencer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jose_K said...

Why? let the market do its job. Many good student will fail in the real world.

edutcher said...

I'm sure there's a point to this, but, aside from removing some of the more annoying class members, it eludes me.

jimbino said...

We ought to pay kindergartners to quit public school altogether. Think how much money we'd save and how much more we bright kids would accomplish once relieved of the obligation to spend the next 13 years in public school with dolts for teachers and colleagues!

Considering most home schoolers do tons better academically than the poor slobs being sexually molested by union teachers, it's a good idea.

robinintn said...

It's a great idea. So it will never happen.

Carnifex said...

Hell lets just go Gingrich on the minorities and send 'em to Janitor School. It's all they're good for anyway. Right? Except for the Asians of course.

Or maybe we let people decide what the hell they want to do themselves. You know, be responsible.

Hagar said...

Some "universities" need to close and be turned into office parks.

Eric said...

Or maybe we let people decide what the hell they want to do themselves. You know, be responsible.

I'm okay with that as long as everyone understands they're not going to be able to duck out of their loans.

Lawler Walken said...

Student loans are supposed to make education more affordable for everyone so that it isn't just the wealthy who get to pursue higher education. Except it's not working all that well because the cost of the education has become so prohibitive that students graduate with crushing debt burdens. So the solution? Dangle some cash in front of the law student's nose, the 23 year old who's got some undergraduate liberal arts degree that in no way makes him employable in the real world and a year of law school, which is totally worthless by itself and makes him look like a loser if he quits to take the money.

Of course Zappos is paying out its own money. It's a for profit endeavor so it can budget for this and discontinue the program if it decides the money should be spent elsewhere. Who knew law schools had so much extra cash to fund this sort of thing? Or would the cost just be spread to the remaining students in the form of tuition hikes?

David said...

Pay profs to stop teaching.

Wait, we already do that.

Peter said...

I'd favor a mandatory exam for first-year law students attending schools that are less than top-tier.

To continue their studies, they'd have to demonstrate a working knowledge of the labor market for those who graduate from that rank of school.

Presumably a monetary award might induce some undecideds to quit now rather than later.