More law schools, fewer jobs

June 18, 2008
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According to a recent news story, there are now 200 ABA-accredited law schools in the United States, with some states looking to add even more schools. Indiana currently has four, and just a few years ago, two Indiana colleges were looking into opening up their own law schools. Those have fallen to the wayside at least for now, but one businessman with more than a decade of experience in higher education but not an attorney himself is still pursuing his goal of opening up the Abraham Clark School of Law (http://abrahamclarklaw.com/) in Indianapolis with a goal of reaching working adults who are looking to go back to school.

Last year, a record 150,000 students enrolled in law schools nationwide. Law school has historically been seen as an automatic, successful career; a well-respected option if you are unsure of what you want to do after college. It makes sense that the demand for a law degree is at an all time-high because right now, the economy is struggling. When the economy is down, many people choose to go back to school. Yet as the story points out, more people in the job pool means more competition for the same legal jobs. In fact, with a slowing economy, those new grads may find themselves with few or no job prospects as firms, courts, and government offices cut back hiring to curb costs.

Colleges and universities are trying to start new, ABA-accredited law schools to meet this high demand, but are they doing a disservice to their students by admitting them, teaching them, and then sending them out into the world with a mountain of debt and bleaker employment prospects than in years past? Or more importantly, does Indiana or the United States need more attorneys? If you look at the public defender’s offices or legal aid offices in most counties, you’d say yes, we need more lawyers to help keep up with the demand for these services. However, many attorneys want to work at higher paying jobs at law firms in order to pay off their school debts. Perhaps if law school debt wasn’t approaching $100,000 or more for some students, more people would look to lower-paying jobs where there may be more of a need for lawyers as opposed to working for large law firms where there may be fewer job opportunities.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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