Measuring the Downside Risk of Law School Attendance

11 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2013

See all articles by James Ming Chen

James Ming Chen

Michigan State University - College of Law

Date Written: February 9, 2013


Legal education has come under severe political pressure, both external and internal, for its perceived failure to deliver tangible economic benefits to law students. But legal education is not alone. The financial crisis of 2008 and the economic recession triggered by it have forced many other industries, to reevaluate their balance of costs and benefits. Many institutions, even entire industries, must now endure stress-testing in the form of debt-to-income or debt-to-capital ratios. This document focuses on student welfare, especially the core economic question of whether law school attendance delivers a valuable return on students’ investment. It also describe the tools, drawn from quantitative finance and econometrics, that it uses to evaluate downside risk and inequality within any cohort of law school graduates.

Suggested Citation

Chen, James Ming, Measuring the Downside Risk of Law School Attendance (February 9, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

James Ming Chen (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - College of Law ( email )

318 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States

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