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The Aspen Advisor Week in Review for September 7, 2018

The Aspen Advisor Week in Review for September 7, 2018 random
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Two articles this week highlight the power of transparency of information. The first is about textbook pricing and the second is about law school attrition rates.

As the parent of a couple of college students, I am frequently asked for advice on which format of textbook to purchase or whether to rent instead. My advice depends on their answers to a few questions. Is this their major area of study or a class they are taking because it’s interesting and fulfills a general education requirement? What are their options? Do they prefer to read in hard copy or online? Does their professor assign homework from an online platform? The answers to these questions help students to be educated consumers when faced with a variety of choices. Sometimes those choices can seem unreasonable, though as demonstrated at University of Louisiana – Lafayette. The article, “How an Accounting ebook Came to be Priced at $999” demonstrates what happens when professors want their students to buy a printed textbook and students prefer the ebook version.

Another interesting article, “The Law School with the Worst Attrition Rate” not only identifies the school with the worst attrition rate but also links to the Law School Transparency Data Dashboard providing additional detail around law school attrition rates. Students either graduate, transfer, or attrite. Twenty-four schools have an attrition rate greater than 15%. These schools are struggling to meet ABA Standard 501 which requires law schools to only enroll students who appear capable of completing law school and gaining admission to the Bar (which includes passing the Bar Exam). This is important information for students to have as they are thinking about applying to law school and for schools to have in order to invest in the resources needed to support their students.

Digital Textbooks and Other Classroom Technology

How an Accounting ebook Came to be Priced at $999
According to a statement issued by the university provost, faculty members in the accounting department wanted their students to purchase the printed textbook so they could easily work through exercises in class without the use of laptops or tablets. After the controversy over the ebook went viral, the university admitted that the high online price tag was simply designed to encourage students to buy the printed version of the book. Notably, the university has since adjusted the price of the online book to match the cost of the hard copy.

Law Professors

Legal Writing Professors: A Story of a Hierarchy Within a Hierarchy
They're treated like second-class citizens in academia and their contracts leave them in precarious positions.

Law School Students

President Trump Changes Student Loan Death and Disability Discharge Tax Rules
President Trump has scared a lot of student loan borrowers with his proposed changes to various student loan forgiveness and repayment programs. However, Trump's student loan proposals aren't law - so while borrowers need to be vigilant, they shouldn't change their plans based on proposals. So far in his presidency, there has only been one major change for borrowers - and it's surprisingly positive.

Legal Education

UW Picks Former Navy lawyer with Big Personality to Lead Law School
The new head of the University of Washington School of Law is a former prosecutor who learned from personal experience how using social identity in a court of law can have long-lasting effects on defendants.

Florida Coastal Still Out of Compliance with Accreditation Standards, ABA Legal Ed Council Says

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has affirmed its findings that Florida Coastal School of Law is out of compliance with certain accreditation standards—increasing the likelihood that the matter will be settled in court.

The Law School with the Worst Attrition Rate
A lot of people may have paid for their 1L year, but that doesn't mean they'll all be getting a J.D.

What Law School Classes Do You Wish You’d Taken?

Are there any other classes you'd add or suggestions that you have regarding ways to improve the typical law school curriculum?

Harvard Law School Dean Updates Loan Repayment Program, Increases Benefits
Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning ’82 has approved several changes to the school’s Low Income Protection Plan, a program that helps HLS graduates who work in low-paying legal careers pay back their student loans.

USC Gould Raises the Bar in Record-Breaking Year

USC Gould School of Law recruited one of its best and brightest first-year classes in 2018, a group that boasts the highest median grade point average in school history, the broadest geographic representations in a decade and an impressive median LSAT score.

Publishing

VitalSource Buys Acrobatiq, Expands its Reach
The etextbook distributor thinks it can create a major adaptive learning platform -- but will big publishers buy in by letting VitalSource turn their content into courseware?


The Aspen Advisor Week in Review is a collection of interesting articles from the past week that pertain to Legal Education. Some may be especially relevant to law professors and others to law students. Many stories focus on the pedagogical, technical, and financial innovation occurring in law schools today. We hope that these articles inspire you.


Nicole Pinard is the Executive Director of Market Development for the Legal Education division of Wolters Kluwer Legal and Regulatory Solutions U.S.