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Creating A Shorter Path To A J.D./M.B.A.

Publication Date: 
May 20, 2009
The Wall Street Journal
Diana Middleton

Dean Larry Kramer is quoted in an article in The Wall Street Journal about the decision by some universities to shorten joint degree programs in an effort to attract more students:

Joint law and business degrees -- the J.D./M.B.A. -- have long catered to a small group of students looking to pursue specialized, blended careers with outside expertise. The joint degree, offered at some 42 schools, is billed as a rigorous combination of legal and management studies that has usually taken four years to earn.

Typically, only a handful of students enroll at any given school, and lately, that number has dwindled thanks to students' growing desire to jump back into the work force faster. Total enrollment in such programs fell from 330 to 287 students between the 2005-06 and 2007-08 school years, according to a recent survey by AACSB International, which accredits business management and accounting programs.

In response, a handful of schools are offering fast-tracked, condensed programs. At a time when students are wary of spending four years ensconced in books when they could be earning a living, some programs are slicing as much as a year off their requirements for the degree, including Northwestern University, University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.


Larry Kramer, dean of Stanford University Law School, says the school thought about shortening its four-year program to three years, but decided against it. "We considered it because of the competition for students," says Mr. Kramer. "Unaltered, the programs are five years' worth of study. To cut 40% was just not responsible."