“Pricing Clinical Legal Education” – a must read!

Professor Robert Kuehn of Washington University School of Law in St. Louis recently posted a draft article on SSRN entitled Pricing Clinical Legal Education.  In this article, Professor Kuehn  presents empirical analysis which  refutes the assumption that requiring clinical education for every student is too costly.

Reviewing tuition, curricular and enrollment data from all law schools, this article demonstrates that 79% of law schools already have the capacity to provide a clinical experience to every student without adding courses or faculty, although only 15% presently require or guarantee that training.

The article examines the rising costs of law schools, the call for more practice ready students and the current studies on the costs of clinical education.  Then Professor Kuehn offers,

new empirical data not on the per unit cost of law clinics or externships, but on the pricing of clinical legal education through tuition.

In Part IV of the article which examines the “Effect of Clinical Legal Education Courses on Tuition, ” Professor Kuehn explains the data he analyzed and how he proceeded with step by step  charts and figures. He controlled for factors such as public-private, cost of living, and US News Ranking,   Professor Kuehn also compares professional education requirements in a helpful chart in APPENDIX A

Professor Kuehn’s  analysis is an extremely important contribution to the debate about how to reduce the cost of law school for the average consumer.   It is sure to cause some rethinking of  “foregone conclusions” about the relationship between high tuition and clinical education.

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