Law schools too littleAs preliminary permission for establishing law schools has now been given, the number of students in those schools has again become an issue. The committee on law education selected 25 universities that would open law schools, and most of them are upset about the number of students they are allowed.
The permission has granted them around half of the students that they would like to recruit. Nine universities are allowed to have just 40 or 50 students. To say the least, it is difficult to run a law school with such a small number of students.
The fundamental aim is to limit the total number of law school students to 2,000. The total number was allocated to different schools in different areas, so financial problems for law schools is a natural consequence.
As the size of law schools fails to meet universities’ expectations, the schools will suffer from adverse side effects from their excessive investment.
Universities planned to recruit 100 students each year, so they recruited 20 or 30 professors and invested tens of billions of won (tens of millions of dollars) into facilities and equipment. The schools will have to pour 4 to 5 billion won more each year to run the schools.
But tuition fees from 40 to 50 students will be merely 500 or 600 million won a year, which means a loss of several billion won each year. If this situation stands, some law schools may have to shut down within a couple of years.
The law school curriculum is another serious problem. As 30 professors will teach 40 students, it will be impossible to have a variety of subjects for students to choose from. If there are many subjects, only one or two students will take each one, making it hard to expect each course to be effective.
The purpose of having law schools is to produce experts in different areas, such as medicine or patents, but this goal will be missed.
The right way to achieve the goal of introducing American-style law schools is for the new administration to increase the total number of students allowed in such institutions.
The Korea Development Institute recently released a report in which it said the total number of students should be increased to 4,000.
Only those in the legal circle oppose an increase in the number of law school students. But they must stop and think which is more important: their own interest or that of the people, the consumers of legal services. The answer should be clear.
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