The case for a law degree
The value of a legal education in this economic climate is a worthy topic. However, in its Nov. 4 Magazine article, “The Case Against Law School,”The Post focused on a single employment statistic that is grossly misleading and relied on a number taken from only one of 16 primary employment categories collected by the American Bar Association.
A legal education is important preparation for a wide array of career choices, including employment in highly competitive jobs and fellowships in legislative and political offices, in federal agencies, in the many public-interest, trade-association, corporate offices and international organizations in and around Washington.
In the case of American University Washington College of Law, a far more appropriate statistic than the one The Post cited is 79.6 percent, which reflects the true employment data and career choices of our 2011 graduates. These graduates are employed in positions requiring bar passage, in positions in which a law degree provides a distinct employment advantage or in other professional positions where developed legal skills are highly valued, or they are pursuing advanced degrees.
In addition, the school’s planned facilities at the Tenley Campus will bring together students, faculty and programs currently distributed among three separate buildings. Our law school does not intend to “drastically increase enrollment,” as The Post reported, and law school and university officials testified to this fact in public meetings and before the D.C. Zoning Commission. In the campus plan approved by the commission, we identified the intent for very modest growth of no more than 1.3 percent over 10 years. If that small growth is to take place, it will be outside the core law-degree program.
Claudio Grossman, Washington
The writer is dean of American University Washington College of Law.