Brooklyn Law School Lends a Financial Hand to Unemployed Grads
From adding practical training opportunities to “personalizing the admissions process,” law schools across the country are finding ways to stand out in today’s tough recruitment environment. Brooklyn Law School is taking it a step further, establishing a tuition repayment program that offers students who have not found a full-time job nine months after graduation 15 percent of their total tuition back.
The 15 percent figure only applies to out-of-pocket tuition expenses, including loans; scholarships and grants do not apply. “This builds on the overall approach that we’ve taken to be very student-centric, to listen to what students need,” Brooklyn Law School Dean Nicholas W. Allard told The New York Times. The program, dubbed “Bridge to Success” and made possible by a $133 million endowment in May, was established to give students the time and resources to land the job they want and not settle for the first offer they receive, said Allard.
To qualify for a repayment, graduates must take the bar exam, although they do not need to pass it. In addition, students must demonstrate that they have actively searched for employment and exhausted the law school’s career resources.
The program is part of Brooklyn Law School’s efforts to remain competitive by lowering tuition costs. In April 2014 the school also decided to reduce yearly tuition by 15 percent to an average of $43,237 per student, which is still higher than the average private tuition of $41,985.
Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistic show that the legal sector lost 60,000 jobs during the recession, only 20,000 of which have been added back. In particular, lawyers with two to three years of experience were hit hard, according to New York Bar Association President David P. Miranda. Consequently, he pointed out that recent law school graduates find themselves in a legal job market in which they have to compete with seasoned lawyers.
Brooklyn Law School is ranked the 78th best law school in the nation, according to the U.S. News & World Report. Brian Leiter of the University of Chicago Law School, told the Washington Post that he expects as many as 10 schools to close over the coming decade, and about half to three-quarters of schools to reduce class size, faculty, and staff. We will see if Brooklyn Law School’s latest initiatives will help the school avoid this fate.