Is law school still attractive?

November 1, 2011
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Let’s face it – it’s not the best time to be coming out of law school. The students who just graduated got in just as the economy was beginning to take a nose dive, and those who are in school now have seen the prospect of getting a job after school decrease. Last year was the worst job market for law school graduates since the mid-1990s, according to the National Association for Law Placement.

This is reflected in a recent survey by law school admissions consulting firm Veritas Prep which found 68 percent of prospective law students said they’d still apply even though a lot of recent graduates haven’t been able to find jobs in their desired field. Just last year, 81 percent of those surveyed said they’d still go to law school.

The survey revealed that most were concerned with finding a job to help pay off the large amount of debt they’ll accumulate while in school. Student loans are a growing concern among prospective and current students because if you don’t have a job, you can’t pay it back. Who wants $70,000 or more of student debt (and that’s not even counting undergraduate loans) hanging over your head while unemployed?

In the Oct. 26 issue of Indiana Lawyer, reporter Jenny Montgomery talked to students around the state about how they feel regarding jobs and loans. Several of them are optimistic that they’ll be among the lucky ones to find a job after graduation.  Many are worried about how they’ll pay their massive amounts of debt.

“People are freaking out,” said Ellen Winterheimer, a 3L at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis. “I think people are more concerned about paying off their loans, because at this point, we’re overqualified for certain jobs, but underqualified for a lot of legal jobs that are requiring three years of experience.”

Something else that jumped out to me in Montgomery’s story is one student said many lawyers tried to discourage her from attending law school. It reminded me of when I was deciding whether to major in journalism and several people in the profession semi-jokingly told me to look for another major. But I think they were serious.

Law students – if you could do it all over again, would you have still gone to law school? Would you have waited a few years to see if the economy rebounds? Practicing attorneys – what would you say to students who ask you if they should go to law school?
 

ADVERTISEMENT
  • Re law school
    Compared to my other profession - classical symphonic music - the law profession seems vigorous! I can't think of better, more flexible or adaptable training than we derive from a law degree. Perhaps one needs to examine the essential reason to go to law school (or medical school); making big money might not be the best initiator now! However, service still is important perhaps even more so in troubled times as these.
  • Not a Good Investment...
    And that's not just true for outgoing grads. I actually have right around 3 years of full-time experience, and it's been a long time since I was able to have full-time work. Based on job statistics, it's clear that a large number of law school grads will not be able to find work. Yet no one ever thinks they will be in that number. I know I never thought I would be. I went to a top national law school followed by a top national firm where I worked my tail off. I did everything I knew to do to earn job security. And yet here I am.
  • No way
    If you want to work hard, mess up your physical and emotional health, pile up on the debt, and find no decent job prospects upon graduation, and be treated like a leech, law school is for you. There already too many lawyers for fewer job openings. Financially, law school makes no sense. If you are going for the sakes of knowledge, by all means have a go at it, but just know that it's going to cost you a lot.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
  1. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  2. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

  3. The US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Far too many people are sentenced for far too many years in prison. Many of the federal prisoners are sentenced for marijuana violations. Marijuana is safer than alcohol.

  4. My daughter was married less than a week and her new hubbys picture was on tv for drugs and now I havent't seen my granddaughters since st patricks day. when my daughter left her marriage from her childrens Father she lived with me with my grand daughters and that was ok but I called her on the new hubby who is in jail and said didn't want this around my grandkids not unreasonable request and I get shut out for her mistake

  5. From the perspective of a practicing attorney, it sounds like this masters degree in law for non-attorneys will be useless to anyone who gets it. "However, Ted Waggoner, chair of the ISBA’s Legal Education Conclave, sees the potential for the degree program to actually help attorneys do their jobs better. He pointed to his practice at Peterson Waggoner & Perkins LLP in Rochester and how some clients ask their attorneys to do work, such as filling out insurance forms, that they could do themselves. Waggoner believes the individuals with the legal master’s degrees could do the routine, mundane business thus freeing the lawyers to do the substantive legal work." That is simply insulting to suggest that someone with a masters degree would work in a role that is subpar to even an administrative assistant. Even someone with just a certificate or associate's degree in paralegal studies would be overqualified to sit around helping clients fill out forms. Anyone who has a business background that they think would be enhanced by having a legal background will just go to law school, or get an MBA (which typically includes a business law class that gives a generic, broad overview of legal concepts). No business-savvy person would ever seriously consider this ridiculous master of law for non-lawyers degree. It reeks of desperation. The only people I see getting it are the ones who did not get into law school, who see the degree as something to add to their transcript in hopes of getting into a JD program down the road.

ADVERTISEMENT