Constitutional Daily

Founding Principles

The Tenure Paradox - Robot pimp

Slap on the Wrist for "Non-Consensual Sex" - Lampshade, Esq.

Intelligence: The Gathering - Graphic and Gratuitous

Grads are the New Illegals - Robot Pimp

Meet Entitlement Eric - Robot Pimp

Wherein I Solve World Peace - Lampshade, Esq.

A Necessary Delusion - Shadow Hand

Do you even need to shave overhead? - Lawyerlite

LSAT Jenga - Publius Picasso

Time, Place, and Manner

...Should have some links here or something.


Large Numbers of Law - Law School Library Costs

E-mail Print PDF

If you're a law student these days, your tuition (the sticker price, at least) is going to be anywhere from $29,000 a year to $53,000, and you're going to graduate with $100,000-250,000 of debt. Guess how much of that is going to pay for your school's library.

$3,197 per year.

Yes, that's for the library. The glorified study hall that doubles as storage space for books no one needs or uses the hard copies of.

That is the average cost per student per year, looking at 16 different public law schools (part time students were counted as 1/2). The most frugal on our list was the University of Florida, which spends $1,898 per student. At the very top of the heap is UNC's library, eating $4,251 of every student's tuition every year.

The numbers include materials, salaries, and the school's share of payroll taxes. It does not include insurance, retirement benefits, the cost of running heat and A/C, the cost of the building itself, or the additional work created for HR, IT, and the janitorial staff.

Taking all the overhead into consideration, you're probably looking at $4000-5000 per year per student. Perhaps a lot more in times when new facilities are being built.


The main skill you learn as a law student from using the library itself is where certain books happen to be located within that library. That's a skill that is entirely useless the moment you leave. When you enter practice the "library" you'll be using will be at most a few stacks of books, and could be as small as a single bookcase in your office. Learning that the obscure foreign law journals are kept in the obscure foreign law journal sub-basement doesn't help you in practice when what you need to know is that Jim borrowed your copy of the FRCP while you were at lunch.

The real absurdity of the whole thing is that for $3,000 a law student could probably buy every single hard copy book that he'll need for his legal career. Whatever the value of a law school library is, it pales in comparison to owning the resources yourself.


For people who like numbers, here's the costs at each of the 16 schools:

Arizona State University: $3,406.16

University of Florida: $1,898.29

George Mason: $3,445.49

University of Illinois: $3,407.91

University of Michigan: $4,029.84

University of Missouri: $3,081.48

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill: $4,251.41

Ohio State University: $3,813.25

Rutgers - Camden: $3,024.25

Rutgers - Newark: $2,954.37

SUNY: $3,312.47

University of Texas: $2,220.3

Texas Tech: $3,805.24

University of Virginia: $2,548.18

William and Mary: $3,221.2

University of Wisconsin: $2,731.64

TaxProf has some handy links to public law school salaries.

[More Large Numbers of Law]

blog comments powered by Disqus

Philadelphia Lawyer, Unfiltered

The finest blend of analysis, advice, and fury on the internet. Sour mash, oak barrel aged, published at cask strength.


Most Recent Article:

In Defense of Risk (Happy Fourth of July)

All Articles from The Philadelphia Lawyer

Author Profile

The Robot Pimp

An in depth look at the emerging intersection of law, behavioral economics, and robots.

Most Recent Article:

The Tenure Paradox

All Articles from The Robot Pimp

Author Profile

Practice Makes Putrid

Legal practice would be all rainbows and buttercups, if it weren't for the clients, and opposing counsel, and co-counsel, and judges, and the law.

Most Recent Article:

Eat Mor Fiv Freedums

All Articles from The Namby Pamby

Author Profile

Gin and Glannon's

As Shadow Hand suffers through law school, the rest of us get a little Schadenfreude.

Most Recent Article:

I Just Work Here

All Articles From Shadow Hand

Author Profile

Irresistible Impulse

Dr. Rob Dobrenski's daring expedition into the psychology of lawyers and the law. (Not a substitute for a life well lived.)

Most Recent Article:

You're Not a Failure, You're a Narcissist

All Articles from Dr. Rob

Author Profile

Graphic and Gratuitous

Sometimes cartoons are the highest form of communication. Those times are known as "most of the time."

Most Recent Cartoons:

Intelligence: The Gathering

All Cartoons

There And Never Back Again

Defunct Big Law attorney BL1Y shares his misadventures as a writer who accidentally went to law school.


Most Recent Article:


All Articles from BL1Y

Author Profile

Lampshade, Esquire

We're dealing with some technical difficulties here. Hold up a minute.

All Articles From Lampshade, Esq.

Staff Infections

News, humor, and other non-billables from our underpaid, uncredited, unsexy staff.


News Articles

Smaller News Bits

Large Numbers of Law

Mixed Bag of Lawesome


Scofflaw Multistate Bar Review