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Lawyer Glut
College Grads Wise Up, Pass on Law School

For several years lawyers have been warning college grads to think very carefully before attending law school. Changes in how law is practiced combined with technological upheaval in the field have reduced America’s carrying capacity for lawyers. Simply put, America is producing too many lawyers for too few jobs. The unemployment rate for students nine months out of law school was 11.2 percent in 2013, compared to 10.6 percent in 2012. The market, however, finally appears to be adjusting, reports Quartz:

It took prospective law students some time after the financial crisis to recognize the profession’s new reality of fewer jobs and less pay. But if the continuing drop in those taking law school admission exams (LSATs) or applying for admission to the American Bar Association (ABA) are any indication, the US lawyer bubble has conclusively popped.

Despite a generally improving economy, which might have signalled good times for lawyers in the past, the numbers of LSAT takers and ABA applicants have declined by double digit percentages for the second consecutive year, and dropped for the third straight year.

Quartz expects that less prestigious law schools will close or combine as applications continue to drop. The bubble doubtless still has a lot of deflating to do now that it has popped, and for many the transition will be painful. But we’re glad to see college grads catching up new market realities, avoiding the grim fate of spending three expensive, grueling years getting a JD and then failing to score a job. For many creative, smart young Americans, law will still be a viable field. But prospective students are learning that it will no longer be the golden ticket to an upper middle-class lifestyle it used to be, and responding well.

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  • Anthony

    Overheard at gathering of University of Chicago law students (among others), they and admitted graduates have no worries – what do they know.

    • Anthony

      Elite law schools like the u of c are still in good shape, more or less. The same cannot be said for graduates of expensive, lower tier private law schools.

      • Anthony

        Anthony, Res ipsa loquitur.

  • El Gringo

    Well there’s always politics.

  • DirtyJobsGuy

    Students have always been somewhat aware of markets. The problem is they are often several years away from “their” market and are responding to job data from a few years back. My daughter is a geologist and while she was an undergrad the class size doubled in following classes as students became aware of the high pay for “extraction industry” geologists. An economic slump would drop demand. 40 years ago I entered engineering school after the aerospace crash of the early 1970’s. We had the smallest engineering class since WWII. However we since noted that the class was filled with “people who wanted to be engineers!”. There was a record number of people applying to medical school last year, despite obamacare. The old “Law or Medicine” choice of the Ivie’s must be in play

  • William Ockham

    I am unsure where the author gets his unemployment figures for recent law school graduates. The cited figure of 10% grossly understates the unemployment rate of young attorneys. For the last several classes the rate has been 30% to 40+%. And many of those are desperately insecure jobs paying $30,000 to $50,000. The blog Law School Transparency is a good place to begin your research.

  • Arkeygeezer

    Wrong! The Affordable Care Act (ACA) presents unlimited opportunity for young Lawyers. The more you move to a socialist state, the better the opportunity for making money in the legal profession. When you sue the government under a lot of these programs, they pay the winner’s attorney fees. Just win baby, and you’ll be rich!

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