Closing Argument

Issue: Winter 2022

Letter from the President – Winter 2021

Scholarship donations can help law light the way during dark times

As you all know, law school is a daunting proposition. It’s not just the course work, the long hours, the competition for grades and jobs, and the stress; It’s also the cost. In fact, while many prospective students are able to deal with the first several roadblocks, they cannot manage the financial barrier.

Law school is not cheap. There are many highly qualified students who choose another career path because access to law school is too expensive. There are others who do not attend law school because the cost prohibits their preferred career in public interest. Because of the financial deterrent, our profession is losing—before they even begin--students who could make valuable contributions to the legal community, the public and the law itself.

We have many students at ULaw who would choose public interest law or government work but are forced to choose a different career because of their enormous student debt. This is not only a loss to the profession, but also drives the continuing unmet legal needs of our citizens.

This is why we need donations for student scholarships. Donations made for student scholarship are used exclusively for that. They do not go to infrastructure, salaries, research, or anything else.  They go directly to students to help defray the high cost of tuition. Resident tuition is $29,244 per year and non-resident tuition is even higher at $38,178 a year. Actual costs, including 9 months of room and board, books and supplies, transportation and miscellaneous costs bring the total annual for residents and non-residents to $53,062 and $61,802 respectively.

Scholarship dollars are even more critical during the pandemic. Students have to find new places to study and pay for their own internet or other facilities. Also, many summer jobs were withdrawn and some permanent offers have been withdrawn or put on hold.  In fact, Bloomberg Law reports that for “the first half of this year, lawyer employment fell 15%.”¹

We are encouraging our students not to lose heart over the current outlook for lawyer employment. As Bloomberg Law continues, “[i]f history is a guide, lawyer jobs will return.  . . . Looking back at industry struggles over the past decade, on a year-over-year basis, employment figures rebound to pre-decline levels within three years for lawyers and non-lawyers [working in the legal field] alike.”²

Bloomberg Law continues that lawyers will have to be flexible, making their legal education at ULaw even more important. We are striving to give our students the skills and intellectual training necessary to be the best assets they can be in any community they serve. However, we cannot do that, and our students cannot accomplish their goals, if they are hampered by financial concerns.

The ULaw student community is also made up of many students who are parents. They now have the additional worry of the health of their children, whether or not their children are being home-schooled or attending in person school, with the attendant risks to either choice.

There is one very simple and direct way to assist students through law school – scholarship dollars.  We can’t change the education, which is as rigorous as ever, and we can’t change the external pressures which students face, but we can help with their financial worries.

Helping through giving not only helps the students now, it helps them attain their career goals, serve the public, make a tiny dent in the unmet legal needs currently plaguing society and puts these future lawyers in a position to give back when future students need help. It’s a pay-it-forward philosophy that does so much good.

Thanks to all of you who have given.  You are all amazing and we are fortunate beyond words in our alumni community.