Friday, August 13, 2010

Close NIU Law School?

Scott Summers, a candidate for Illinois treasurer and a graduate of NIU Law, has proposed "slimming down" or even "mothballing" Northern Illinois and Southern Illinois universities' law school programs.

"We have three public law schools," Summers said. "And another seven or eight private law schools and a whole bunch of unemployed lawyers and underemployed lawyers. How long can we as taxpayers continue to support this?"

While the candidate said in a recent campaign website post he was grateful for the "tiptop legal education" he received at NIU, he said he is "counting beans today, not wallowing in sentiment."

Up until 35 years ago, he pointed out, the state had a single public law school at the University of Illinois. "We got by just fine with that," he said.

Full article here.


Heather Darsie said...

As a current student at NIU COL, I can say that part of the reason why I chose NIU was not only the location (close to home and to Chicago), but also because my legal education would no longer be cost-prohibitive. U of I COL, as far as I understand, is priced right up there with the private Chicago law schools. How is the public, state-funded school helping out its Illinois residents by making them pay prices comparable to Chicago?
Further, I would be curious to see how many lawyers are unemployed or under employed in other states. I don't believe this is an Illinois phenomenon, but rather that we are suffering the backlash of a poor economy and should not punish students who don't have the means to attend an expensive school that is far away.

Brian K said...

They should close some of the Chicago schools!

Anonymous said...

Scott Summers sounds like an idiot. You know its not the law schools' fault so many folks are going into this profession. Maybe prospective law students should re-evaluate their plans in light of the lousy job market and the fact that so many over the hill attorneys who need to retire simply won't retire when they should. I attended a state school for my undergrad and I attended Northern Illinois University College of Law for law school. The publicly funded law schools provide a vital public service. I went into law school with the intention of being a government lawyer and upon obtaining my law degree I spent the first three years of my law career working for public agencies. Private law school is cost prohibitive for many well intentioned people who aspire to be public interest lawyers early in their career. Screw Scott Summers.

Anonymous said...

I am an undergrad student and am looking forward to acheiveing higher education whether I become employed as a lawyer or not. Having a law degree has many more benefits than just the prospect of being a lawyer. NIU is a cost-effective option for many students and also happens to have a higher BAR success rate than Most of the private schools in Chicago at 92%. Fuck Scott Summers.