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Law And More: Corporate Compliance, HR

“’This is not law school-lite,’ said USC law professor Bob Rasmussen of his school’s program [creating an undergraduate degree in legal studies].” Reuters Legal, June 23, 2022.

Rasmussen’s school is the University of Southern California Law School. It is the first top 20 law school to provide a BS in legal studies and the third overall to do so. The objective is to enable its graduates to perform jobs in such fields as corporate compliance or human resources. 

However, the graduates can’t sit for the bar. And, of course, they can’t practice law. (At least not yet. That might change in some of the regulatory sandbox states.)

Somehow, this looks a lot like law school-lite. Given how complex law is and how open to interpretation and how highly regulated everything associated with law is, why would any corporate compliance department or human resources function entrust its doings to a BS in legal studies? The risk seems profound. Instead, for X or Y situation, call in the lawyers.

It could be that law schools such as USC are scouting around for a fresh source of revenue. After all, the pool of potential candidates for law school is declining. As NPR reports, there have been a falling birth rate and fewer enrollments in college because of the cost. That means fewer to apply to law school. 

In addition, there’s no telling, as following The Great Recession, if there will be an overall falloff of applicants if law firms get hit hard during a possible recession. Already, Steptoe and Johnson has imposed haircuts on associates who don’t make their numbers. Redgrave has laid off. 

The whole higher education edifice could become quite wobbly if the economy has a hard landing. This time around getting a degree could no longer represent a safe harbor. The cost could be too great. There could be reluctance to take on the debt of student loans. And the recent history of academic degrees has become a saga, chronicled by The Wall Street Journal, of poor ROI. 

Connect with Editor-in-Chief Jane Genova [email protected]. Complimentary consultations. No selling.

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