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Law School Research Papers

Are Law Degrees as Valuable to Minorities?

Photo of the New York Public Library - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York, by Davide Cantelli via Unsplash

A new research paper by Frank McIntyre of Rutgers Business School and Michael Simkovic of USC Law looks at whether law degrees are less valuable for minority students.

Unsurprisingly, the researchers found that minority students tend to earn less after law school than white students:

“After controlling for observable differences, we find that a law degree is associated with approximately an 80 percent increase in earnings for whites and a 60 to 70 percent increase for minorities such as blacks, Asians and Hispanics.

The results are similar when looking only at men or only at women. In addition, whites’ higher percentage premiums are multiplied by higher base earnings than blacks’ or Hispanics’, such that in dollar terms the gaps are even more noticeable.

It is likely that at the median and even 25th percentile, law students of all races typically derive greater financial benefits from their law degrees compared to a terminal bachelor’s than the costs of those law degrees. However, minority students’ predictably lower earnings premiums indicate that they are at greater risk than other students of losing out financially from law school.

There are important limitations to our study. While differences in total earnings by race are well documented, and we now have evidence in differences by race in law earnings premiums (the financial benefits of legal education), the reasons for these differences are not well understood and likely include a combination of factors. Another limitation is that we are measuring population level differences in earnings. Individual outcomes vary, and we account only for a limited proportion of the total variance in earnings.

Nevertheless, our results suggest two things. First, attending law school is generally a better financial decision than terminating education with a bachelor’s degree, but the boost to earnings is higher for whites than for minorities. Second, differences in the financial benefits of a law degree by race appear to have diminished in recent years, particularly as between whites on the one hand and blacks and Hispanics on the other.”

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Law School

Personal Update – Starting Georgetown’s Tax LL.M. program

Georgetown University Law Center in Washington D.C.

As many of you have already know, I made some pretty significant changes in August.

I moved from Dallas to Washington D.C. to earn a tax LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center. I am specializing in state and local taxation (SALT), externing at a law firm D.C., and pretty much spending the next nine months immersed in all things tax. Continue reading “Personal Update – Starting Georgetown’s Tax LL.M. program” »

Law School

Trump’s budget proposal to axe major student loan forgiveness program

Photo of the New York Public Library - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York, by Davide Cantelli via Unsplash

From Slate’s Money Box:Trump’s Budget Would Kill a Major Student Loan Forgiveness Program, but Only for New Borrowers.”

As was widely expected, President Trump’s new budget calls for eliminating a major student loan forgiveness program designed to help government and nonprofit workers, such as lawyers, teachers, and social workers.

Those who have already taken on debt for school may not need to worry for now, however, because it appears the administration only wants to end the program for new borrowers.

The White House is proposing an overhaul of the student lending system that would streamline many of the options the government currently offers borrowers for paying down their debts. As part of those reforms, it would end the Department of Education’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, or PSLF, which wipes borrowers’ balances after they spend 10 years working either for a government or nonprofit employer.
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Law School

Law School Rankings

Photo of the New York Public Library - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York, by Davide Cantelli via Unsplash

The recent release of the 2018 U.S. News tax rankings reminded me that it has been about a decade since I first started applying to law schools. (I’m old!)

The most dramatic change in the last 10 years is that law schools started reporting much more accurate employment statistics.

I applied to law school in very last wild west years when would-be law students had to rely on the often fraudulent promises of law school admissions officers and long-gone law student blogs. Continue reading “Law School Rankings” »