Students today put a lot more thought into choosing a law school than they did in the past. And they have access to vastly more information with which to do so. In addition to a surfeit of books offering advice on the best law schools, not to mention U.S. News, they can (and do) turn to blogs and list serves and chat groups to gather information and exchange stories and opinions. On top of this, most schools invite admitted applicants to spend a day or two on campus, where they can learn still more about the school and meet current students and faculty.
I really enjoy these weekends. I love meeting prospective students, each more amazing than the last. I like explaining what we do at Stanford Law and why. I especially enjoy conversations in which someone challenges me to explain why he or she should choose Stanford over some other law school. But this year was different in one respect. A number of admitted students were still undecided about attending law school at all, still looking to be persuaded that a law degree is worth the time and money—still unsure, in the lingo of the moment, that law is a good “value proposition.”
Prospective law students do not have these concerns because of the economy. Hard economic times usually make law school more attractive, as young people sensibly invest in their education while waiting for things to [...]