Board of Trustees to consider unwinding Law school

5/28/2020: Actually the agenda for their June 4th meeting isn’t posted yet,  so it’s unclear if this will be among the cost-savings measures to be considered. Maybe they’ll cut baseball instead.

5/15/2020: UO Law School needs $250M to avoid financial exigency

It now costs UO’s law school about $170K to produce a law school graduate who can pass the bar exam. Over their three years they pay only about $60K in tuition – 50% off the list price. 75% of their students are from out of state.

The Law School started 2015 with a $3.3M positive carry-forward. As of March 2020 they were $5.7M in the red, on a heavily subsidized budget of $16M a year – they bring in only about $8M in tuition.

Our E&G bucket is on the hook for the $9M debt and pays for the continuing $8M deficit – including $390K for new Dean Marcilynn Burke and $290K for former Dean Michael Moffitt, who apparently knows something about contracts.

Closure can’t be far off without significant donor support. Back of the envelope it would take a $250M endowment gift, which would yield $9.5M a year after Paul Weinhold’s UO Foundation takes their cut.

Here are the numbers, from painfully drilling down into the docs on UO’s new transparency website, here.

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9 Responses to Board of Trustees to consider unwinding Law school

  1. Environmental necessity says:

    Cant imagine UO without a law school but these subsidies need to come to an end. Somebody needs to tell the law school “after 2022 (or whatever) the subsidy is over”. Find the money or configure the law school to cover operating costs with tuition revenue.

  2. Dog says:

    I could see Knight rescuing the Law School and/or dropping the Phildo on it ….

    • uomatters says:

      If he does rescue Law, I promise to delete all references to The Phildo, and donate the domain to the UO Foundation to use as they see fit.

      • Dog says:

        reason enough for the Knight advisers (who do read this blog) to lobby Phil to do this …

  3. Newbie says:

    One correction: Almost three full years into her deanship, it’s not quite accurate to describe the current dean as “new.”

  4. thedude says:

    Professional schools should self fund.


    To not do so, would be completely unprofessional.

    We need to cut them less. Then their dean will actually try to fund raise like their careers depending on it. Instead, they’re ok just sucking 10m a year out of CAS while arguing they shouldn’t be in the bargaining unit. They are literally a bigger obstacle to the university being able to give out decent raises than football.

    Or seriously, cut the law school loose, and no salary cuts are needed. $hit, their enrollments will probably be fine this fall anyways.

  5. Geezer Duck says:

    Given the Law School’s close proximity to the Phildo, they could raise money by giving Phildo tours…

    Another option is for the OSBA to provide Law School supplemental funding by doubling the membership dues to about $1200/year. With over 15,000 Oregon State Bar members, that could easily solve the Law School’s $$$ problems. And the OSBA dues presumably are a tax deductible business expense… Thus this is really small change for deep pocketed OSBA members, many of whom are UO Law School graduates…

  6. Prosser says:

    There should be an outside committee of the University to assess what’s going on in the law school. A current problem is this. The previous dean was so hopelessly incompetent that it poisoned the law school’s entire atmosphere. This culminated in the black face debacle, which made the law school into a national joke. To get anyone to become dean, the administration had to promise them the moon and assure them they would have full support regardless of how screwed up the law school was. So you won’t get any solutions from the administration or from the law school itself. It is time for outside intervention.

  7. ScienceDuck says:

    Law school faculty are still paid as if a law degree was a guarantee of a well-compensated career. Take a pay cut or move out, but either way time to accept the reality that law school applicants have already figured out and not be a drain on the greater university.