that’s missing is the longer term.
AZAT: How do you address that?
MILLER: Jim Anaya, one of my wonderful
colleagues, took some money he received
as part of being named to a distinguished
Regents professorship, and he said he wanted
to support lunches once a week. He said, I
know we do a lot of enrichment and formal
papers. I don’t want more of that; I just want
to create a space where people every week
can come, grab some food and there might
be a light topic, a framing of issues. For
example, the new February bar exam was
being implemented. People were excited and
supportive, but we needed time to figure out
what the curriculum would look like.
AZAT: Have other initiatives been vetted
MILLER: Yes. We’ve had an increased num-
AZAT: Here’s something that made news:
ber of JDs from outside of the U.S. They’re
doing great in the classroom, and the U.S.
JDs have welcomed them warmly. But with
29 students out of 134 from outside of the
U.S., the dynamics in the first-year class are
different. These are often lawyers who’ve
worked for a decade in other countries, and
they’re bringing new things into the class-
room. We need space to talk about that.
When we ultimately get to faculty meet-
ings, the big issues have been discussed
already over multiple hours, over weeks or
sometimes months. So it’s rare in that setting
to have some new point or argument that
people really hadn’t considered.
The Law School cut tuition this past year.
People wonder why a lot more schools aren’t
MILLER: A few are. Before we did it, people
said schools couldn’t do it. They couldn’t
afford to do it. They couldn’t imagine how
to do it. No school had ever done it.
AZAT: Was it a good time to do it?
MILLER: Perhaps it should have been done
before. The early 90s was the last significant
sort of downturn in legal employment and
shifts in applications to law school, where
the number of applications kept going up.
Yes, tuitions went up at public and private
schools, but students were willing to pay it.
The employment market was good. Firms
would hire; the public jobs and prosecution,
defense and elsewhere were available.
Would it have been good to think about
whether pricing structures were correct and
right and achieving the right ends, especially
for public institutions for whom access is part
of their heart and soul? Sure, but the pressures
weren’t there—and yet there were other pressures. There were pressures to get and hold
the best faculty, and those remained.
AZAT: And there are other pressures.
MILLER: Yes. They are pressures to hold and
get and train the best students, and make
sure that on the way out they feel good about
the institution and go off to clerkships and
jobs and other things. There were pressures
and debates about clinics and other things,
which are expensive but highly valuable. But
those were internal conversations, and in that
world the idea of reducing tuition didn’t
AZAT: But it became compelling. Why?
MILLER: Part of what’s happened is that it’s
not just about the cost. The cost of legal education is high even with our very competitive
tuition. But what we hadn’t focused on
enough, I think, is the degree of the dissonance between the posted prices and the
actual prices, the uses of scholarships and dollars to sort, to choose, to favor, to privilege,
and the difference between what schools
announce and what people actually pay, even
if the vast majority of students obtained a
We are in a profession for which honesty
is a value, for which holding trust is what dis-tinguishes us from virtually every other profession. I think ultimately part of what led
to that tuition reduction and is leading other
schools is not simply a crude economic calculation. “Gee, demand is down; we need
to be less expensive.” There’s transparency.
There’s an honesty dimension.
AZAT: Is tuition at a sustainable place now?
MILLER: We think the resident tuition is
now at a very competitive place; in-state
tuition went from $27,500 to $24,500. And
with our scholarships, we feel like we are able,
for the taxpayers of Arizona, to give a really
high-value education at a reasonable but substantial cost. But we have another significant
proposal before the university, and we’ll see if
they let us go to the Regents to again reduce
AZAT: Why is that important?
MILLER: It’s a national and global market,
and with the support of the university, we’ve
already priced the global access in a way
that fits the competition with Oxford and
Cambridge and Hong Kong and schools in
Australia. But we need to do that on the
national market too. Last year we reduced the
out-of-state tuition from just over $42,000 to
just over $38,000. We have now proposed
reducing the nonresident tuition to $29,000.
AZAT: It’s interesting you mention transparency. I wonder among law school administrators nationwide whether the
Transparency Project is a conversation? And
what do you think a law school owes to perspective applicants?
We are in a pro- fession for which honesty is a value, for which holding trust is what dis- tinguishes us from virtually every other profession.
AQ& Marc Miller James E. Rogers College of Law at U of A AZ AT