Most states (including Indiana) have too many lawyers

July 5, 2011
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This news doesn’t help Indiana Tech in its explanation for why it’s decided to open up a law school in northeast Indiana. Economic Modeling Specialists Inc., a consulting company that looks at employment data and provides economic analysis, found there are more attorneys than jobs available in nearly every state.

According to its data, it estimates there will be 339 annual openings each year from 2010 to 2015. Sounds good for those recent grads and unemployed attorneys looking for jobs, right? The bad news is that in 2009, 602 people passed the bar here. If we took these numbers as fact, then every year, 263 would not be able to find a job in the legal profession. Granted, you have to consider that maybe some of the people who passed the bar may take jobs out of state or jobs in which they don’t need to become members of the bar. But that still leaves more attorneys than jobs here.

New York fared the worst – EMSI estimates it has more than 7,600 attorneys than jobs in that state. For those with legal degrees willing to go where the work is, try Nebraska, Wisconsin or Washington, D.C. The report shows Nebraska could actually use three more attorneys, Wisconsin has a deficit of 14 attorneys (although the number could be skewed because you don’t have to pass the bar to practice in that state), and D.C. is looking for nearly 350 lawyers. Overall, the nation has a surplus of more than 27,000 attorneys.

This is just one study, but it does offer a glimpse at how tough the job market is for attorneys right now. EMSI used the number of people who passed the bar in each state and compared that to an estimate of job openings for attorneys in those states. It also looked at data from the Department of Education on law school graduates to determine the number of new lawyers.

Tell me why then Indiana Tech thinks it’s a good idea to open up a law school. They claim their research tells them Indiana is actually underserved when it comes to lawyers.

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  • It's obvious
    Indiana Tech is trying to make sure that some out of work lawyers get jobs as faculty at their new law school...after all, it will be 3 years that they will help the attorney employment percentage in Indiana before they have their first graduating class...makes sense don't you think?
  • Nonsense!
    Why doesn't the ABA mandate lawschools limit law school students to some number to justify the the excessive tuition. I pity young law students.
  • Missing the point
    I believe you all are missing the bigger picture. Though there are out of work "lawyers" in every state, there are still many JDs getting jobs where they aren't practicing (by choice and design) all over the country. In addition, there are more law school applicants than there are law school open slots. Why shouldn't Indiana Tech provide a service to people interested in a law school education? Practicing law isn't the only purpose for obtaining your JD.

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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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