Pricing Clinical Legal Education
92 Denver University Law Review 1 (2014)
Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15-12-02
44 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2013 Last revised: 4 Dec 2015
Date Written: August 15, 2014
Some blame the cost of clinical legal education for high law school tuition. They argue that, regardless of the educational and employment benefits to students, clinical legal education, and law clinics in particular, are too expensive to expand or require for all students in a time of decreasing law school enrollments and revenues. This Article is an empirical examination of these claims. Reviewing tuition, curricular and enrollment data from all law schools, this Article demonstrates that 84% of law schools already have the capacity to provide a clinical experience to every student without adding courses or faculty, although only 18% presently require or guarantee that training. It finds there is no effect on the tuition and fees students pay from requiring or guaranteeing every student a clinical experience and no difference in tuition between schools that already have sufficient capacity to provide a clinical experience to each student and those that do not. In addition, there is no tuition growth associated with the increased availability of experiential or law clinic courses for students or the increased participation of students in law clinics, in spite of the higher costs many associate with clinics. These findings demonstrate that clinical courses have not cost, and need not cost, students more in tuition. The Article concludes that providing a clinical experience to every student is more a question of a school’s will to provide that educational experience than of cost.
Keywords: legal education, law schools, clinical legal education, law clinic, experiential legal education
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