Law and Disorder

The institutions are designed first and foremost to prepare people for careers. They are expensive to attend, and many students borrow heavily to pay for their educations. And critics are asking increasingly tough questions about how graduates are faring in the job market — and whether the institutions are transparent enough about their outcomes.

That description may sound like the for-profit colleges that have been under a microscope in recent years, but it also characterizes law schools, which a new report suggests might be at the bleeding edge of greater scrutiny of traditional higher education in the months ahead.

The report from the Center for American Progress builds on the drumbeat of news articles portending a crisis in legal education, but frames the law schools' issues as a potential harbinger for other colleges and universities.

"The story of impossibly high demand even in the face of climbing tuition and low success rates seems all too familiar," writes Julie Margetta Morgan, the author. "The high enrollment, high tuition, high debt phenomenon presented in law school mirrors the rest of higher education."

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