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    08.04.15 Statement from Brooklyn Law School President and Dean Nicholas Allard on the Adopted Resolution and Report of the ABA Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education
    Nick Allard

    I commend the leadership of ABA Presidents James Silkenat and William Hubbard and the ABA Task Force for beginning to tackle what is the largest and most correctable problem facing the legal profession: the affordability and cost of legal education. However, the ABA’s report only scratches the surface of addressing the issue of spiraling law school student debt. The high costs of legal education and the disparities in who pays the full sticker price too often places the dreams of being a lawyer out of reach for many talented and promising young people who may be our next Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O'Connor,  or Sonia Sotomayor.

    The good news is that the broken business model of law schools can be fixed, and that law school can be made more affordable. Law schools themselves cannot improve a stubbornly down economy, or reverse the disruptive impact of technology or dramatic changes in the legal market. But they can overhaul their tuition and aid programs to help drive down the cost of legal education -- and many are doing so.

    Brooklyn Law School is one of several schools at the forefront of attacking the economic barriers to legal education. After freezing 2014 tuition at 2013 levels, the law school reduced tuition 15 percent across-the-board, beginning in the 2015-2016 academic year, while increasing need-based aid, as well as expanding loan repayment programs for graduates entering public-interest or other lower-income positions. The Law School also offers below-market-rate housing to all incoming students. In July 2015, BLS announced its Bridge to Success program, in which graduates who have not found full-time professional positions nine months after graduation receive a lump sum payment of 15 percent of their total out-of-pocket tuition costs paid while attending the Law School.

    I hope the leadership of the ABA will continue its work on the affordability of legal education. In particular, the ABA should begin the difficult process of unraveling the knot of self-perpetuating interests such as the testing industry, admissions, US News rankings, and the bar examination and licensing system to understand how they drive up costs without advancing the profession or the public interest. Educating new lawyers is important because our nation has always and will always depend on their dual roles in the private sector and as public servants. The ABA today has taken a step toward finding meaningful solutions, but much work remains.