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Challenges facing higher education are acute in Colorado. Over the course of just eight years state funding of CU-Boulder’s annual budget dropped from 15% in 2002 to 3.4% in 2010. Moreover, technology shifts enabling on-line higher learning alternatives – ranging from massive open on-line courses offered by universities (so-called “MOOCs”) to sites such as the Khan Academy – pose disruptive long-term threats to the traditional university model.
In addition to stresses felt generally across campus, law schools operate amid other challenges particular to the legal profession. The business model of law is undergoing a transformation. Demand for recent juris doctorate recipients has lagged. While some difficulties may be cyclical, there is a growing sense that trends – such as disaggregation of legal work to low cost providers, do it yourself automated legal solutions, and encroachment by other professionals upon traditional legal tasks – are structural shifts that will continue into the future.