"Million Dollar Degree" Authors Answer Harper, Leichter

, The Am Law Daily


The authors of a much-discussed paper assessing the economic value of law degree over the course of a recipient's career take issue with what they say are mischaracterizations of their work by Am Law Daily contributors Matt Leichter and Steven J. Harper.

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What's being said

  • Liquidinfo

    While I understand the complaints that are being addressed here. I think there is a different one that should be addressed. One thing I do wonder is why you compare it to a bachelor's degree. That doesn't seem at all realistic. You should be comparing it to other advanced degrees such as MBA, MD, PhD. It seems like that would be more of an apples to apples comparison so-to-speak. I believe there are many studies that have said that an advanced degree (regardless of the degree) will get you more money than a bachelor's alone. I wouldn't expect a JD to be any different regardless of the current market. What would be more useful is to know whether a person would be better off getting a different advanced degree? It seems like you are stacking the data in your favor by comparing it to just a bachelors. Is that addressed in your paper? I also suspect that most people who might be concerned about going to law school and their prospects upon graduation are debating whether they should go back to school for a different degree, not whether they should go back to school at all.

  • Steven J. Harper

    Despite the authors' contrary claims, there are no errors in my earlier analysis. I've posted a detailed response on my blog, The Belly of the Beast: "Once More on the Million Dollar Law Degree" - http://wp.me/pSlxy-27r

    Steven J. Harper

  • TeachBlade Reynolds

    In order to make a reasoned assessment of both sides of the debate between Professors Simkovic and McIntyre -- and Harper, who aside from Professor Harper (who PRACTICED Law as a Senior Partner at Kirkland Ellis, for decades) -- has PRACTICED Law?

  • Ann Lee Gibson

    I find Professors Simkovic and McIntyre's defense (above) of their study's design and results to be impressive and persuasive. As a social scientist with considerable training and practice in research design and statistics, I appreciate that they have calmly discussed their data and analyses and what it reveals and what it does not.

    By their nature, facts describe only past events. One cannot collect and analyze data about future hypothetical events. I think it is an error in judgment for those who reject old business models to also reject out of prejudice studies that collect and analyze facts about the past. I see that error happening a lot lately, by smart people who have become ideologues. See http://lawfirmci.blogspot.com/2013/07/law-in-time-of-ideology.html.

    Increasingly, snark and cherry-picked data have dominated what should be a better argued debate. I for one appreciate Professors Simkovic and McIntyre's latest argument. Thank you both.

    Ann Lee Gibson, Ph.D.

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