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A Revolution in Legal Education?: Vermont Law School Cuts Jobs

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by Publius
Posted November 26, 2012, 1:29 PM

The Boston Globe features a story about potentially big news at Vermont Law School:

Vermont Law School is offering voluntary buyouts to staff and may do so soon with faculty as it prepares for what its president and dean says are revolutions about to sweep both the legal profession and higher education.

A sharp drop in the numbers of Americans applying to law schools — triggered by a drop in the number of legal jobs open — already is being felt at the independent law school’s bucolic campus on the south bank of the White River.

The class due to graduate in the spring with juris doctor degrees numbers just over 200. The class that will follow it in 2014 numbers about 150.

‘‘When our enrollment goes down, we have to downsize,’’ Marc Mihaly, the school’s president and dean, said in an interview. ‘‘No matter what, we’re going to see fewer on-campus JD students (traditional law students pursuing juris doctor degrees). And we have to adjust to that because we do not run deficits in this school.’’

The law school is independent; it is not tied to the University of Vermont or another ‘‘mother ship,’’ as Mihaly put it. He argued that can make it more nimble in responding to changes in the marketplace for legal training.

The declines in numbers at the South Royalton campus reflect a national trend. Word has been spreading in recent years that there are fewer job openings for lawyers. . . .

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