Law school’s value proposition

The debate about whether law school is a worthwhile investment got some renewed mainstream media interest this past week when the New York Times published an op-ed from Case Western Reserve Law School Dean Lawrence Mitchell

In short, Mitchell contends that law school is worth the money.

Several commentators disagree, both on an array of blogs (many of the links are gathered here) and in the Times’ own Letters to the Editor

So what’s a prospective law student to think?  There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to the question.  Law school is neither a quick route to riches (and it never really was) nor is it a certain path to financial destruction.  The answer depends greatly on your own specific career aspirations, existing resources, and plans for financing law school.  I’ve written some additional thoughts about how to consider the decision and posted them here.

Read through the various commentaries, pro and con.  Ask yourself some tough questions about your own career plans, do some realistic research, and crunch some numbers.  Weigh your own values.  Make your own decisions.

In the Spring semester, look for the announcement of a roundtable discussion with lawyers, law students and prospective applicants about how they have made or are making the decision.  (Update: Here’s one recent law school grad’s rough calculations.  H/T to Girl’s Guide to Law School for the link.)

One thing is clear: It’s definitely worth your time to think this through carefully.