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Friday, March 04, 2005

A Shameless Plug

The University Daily is reporting today that, while the number of applicants at most other law schools around the nation have dropped by 3-4%, here at Tech Law applications have increased by 12%.

There are 9 applications for each available seat for the Fall semester. That would equate to between 2115 and 2250 applicants.

The thrust of the story is that people are beginning to realize that Texas Tech is a good law school.

I am not quite so optimistic. With absolutely NO actual knowledge, I am going to say it probably has more to do with the COST of education today. Law School is expensive to begin with. Add in the constantly increasing tuition rates affecting all institutions of higher learning and it becomes outrageous.

Unfortunately, the Government hasn't kept up with these increases by increasing the mandatory maximum one may borrow to finance an education. Without private loans to off-set this (or a very large scholarship) it places the bigger, higher-ranked schools out of the reach of many students whose parents aren't subsidizing their education.

Even without a scholarship, Tech Law is still affordable at around $13,000/year.

This is not to say that this isn't a good school.

I came to Tech because, regardless of the scholarships offered elsewhere, this was the best value in a legal education. I will leave with only the debt incurred from living expenses.

Being here, however, I have realized that Tech is a much better school than what the rankings might indicate.

We are ranked about 114. We would be called Tier 3. To some "anonymous law students" on the east coast, we are considered a part of the "nether regions" of the legal education establishment. (Then again, to these same students, everything between New York and L.A. is "fly over" country and not worth their respect or time.)

Three years ago I did not know this school existed. Then I attended a luncheon one day where I met a retired police chief. He told me that all of the best lawyers he'd ever met, they came from Tech.

To this man, and others, Texas Tech School of Law has an unrecognized reputation for turning out the most prepared, ethical attorneys. Though I am not really in a position to agree with this statement yet, nothing I have seen would indicate otherwise.

I have joked (and warned) about the competitive behavior of law students before. This would include my fellow students. And yet I recognize that this behavior pales in comparison with the lack of ethics shown by students elsewhere.

At Tech, a great many of the students are seeking an education so that they might be able to contribute to society-- and not just their pocketbooks. Of course we want to be comfortable, but who doesn't? Yet "pro bono," to us, isn't what you do to "get ahead" or simply maintain your certification. We have been given something-- Knowledge of the Law -- that the majority of people don't have . . . and don't have access to, either. It is only appropriate that we give this back, ungrudgingly, to those who otherwise would be mere fodder under the wheels of the American Justice System.

Without people like these, their would be no "justice" in our system at all.

The East Coast schools will create brilliant attorneys, powerful in many respects. What they create will become the heads of major law firms, Supreme Court Justices, and the leaders of our representative government.

What Tech creates-- and schools like it-- through the instruction of excellent professors and with the help of an amazing staff, is a group of attorneys that will become the backbone, the balance, the foundation upon which these "leaders" will stand.

They study the theory; we apply it to life.

They make the law; we make it accessible.

So these students who are applying for a place in the Class of '08 -- I really think that many do so because Tech is affordable. However, as they are winnowed down and enter law school, they become a class that by its character and through its development will prove what I believe . . . and will come to believe it themselves.


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