By Charisma L. Miller, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Law School’s (BLS) Board of Trustees announced on Thursday a 15 percent across-the-board tuition reduction, beginning in the 2015-2016 academic year.
A dramatic choice for the 113-year-old legal institution, it is one that follows closely in line with the initiatives put forth by BLS’s Dean Nick Allard. “Brooklyn is on the move. We are out front,” Allard told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in an exclusive interview.
The staggering cost of law school is a subject “every law school in the country, every bar association, and every family and person who is considering attendance in law school are talking about,” said Allard. “While we are out in front, possibly because may be a bit less patient in Brooklyn, this is a national problem we are attacking.”
At present, the approximate cost for a standard three-year law school education at BLS is $154,370. Many students are forced to take out multiple student loans, often at varying interest rates, causing students and law school graduates to be saddled with significant debt.
“Our Board of Trustees, with the support of the faculty, have taken a very sensible hard-headed, but big-hearted, approach which is actually pretty simple,” Allard explained.
Allard, who became BLS’s eighth dean in 2012, has championed student-centric policies from the moment he accepted the leadership position. Under Allard’s stewardship BLS has announced a two-year law degree and increased the amount and types of clinics for students wishing to gain a more practical and hands-on learning experience. Further, BLS has introduced the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship (CUBE), which is a hub exploring legal issues related to entrepreneurship.
The slash in BLS tuition rates may be a benefit that extends beyond law school attendees. “This is about access to affordable education and access to justice,” Allard noted.
According to Allard, when students are crushed with student loan debt, they tend to take jobs where jobs can be found, even if they are outside of the legal field. With the potential of fewer practicing attorneys there is a decreased stock of attorneys available to represent members of underserved community. “By making law school expensive we are reducing the amount of that can serve the underserved community,” Allard noted.
“In Brooklyn, we are doing more and charging less.”