May 1, 2009

A 3.8 percent rise in applications to law school.

I guess it seems like a good time to retreat from the job market, but law school goes by quickly, and you will be back on that market very soon, with big debts.

ALSO: Summer Associates Advised to Lose the Sense of Entitlement.

24 comments:

rdkraus said...

With this economy, seems like a good plan, as long as either (1) Mom and Dad pay or (2) you can get scholarships, with minimum loans.

Besides, who wants to actually go to work?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well at least here in Indianapolis, lawyers aren't immune from the economic downturn.

Baker and Daniels lays off staff

AllenS said...

Lawyers don't work, they litigate.

save_the_rustbelt said...

There are too many lawyers, and many are having trouble making a living during good economic times (not every place is Wall Street).

We need to close 1/3 of the law schools in the country.

NKVD said...

Where else will the next generation of thieving politicians come from except those who finished last in law school?

Peter V. Bella said...

Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune had an article about law firms laying off and eliminating positions.

Is this like kids going to school to learn the horse and buggy trade?

Jennifer said...

I think it may also be that economic uncertainty makes people pay a little more attention to their careers - it prompts reevaluation. I know I've been considering law school recently. I like numbers and I like analysis and I'm good at it. I've never really considered anything else until recently.

And, I actively resisted the idea of law school for a very long time. All three of my parents are lawyers and I'm a rebel. But here I am considering it now...

Richard Dolan said...

"Too many lawyers" is a hackneyed complaint. Don't you all see the coming of the Great Regulatory State? One thing that is sure to grow is demand for more lawyers -- trial lawyers to sue everyone for violating all the new regs to come, defense lawyers to resist, gov't lawyers to churn all those wonderful regs out, prosecutors to hang 'em high, and on and on as far as the eye can see.

The Dems are in control. So let's have more lawyers. Sounds to me like the kids aren't as dumb as some may think. (And if the kids can't figure it out, the law schools will give them some help with a new marketing strategy.)

Zach said...

Does law school have a big dropout rate? You don't think about that much when you're applying, but looking back at my grad school entering class, it's really stark -- the people who were ambivalent about going to grad school left, the people who weren't, stayed.

PhD programs have very high dropout rates, of course (50-60% of my entering class left), because after the first couple of years you can leave with a masters. And the overall length of the program is much longer than law school.

The big difference between grad and undergrad is that grads already have a degree. That means they have more options to leave, and a bigger opportunity cost for staying.

Too many jims said...

Jennifer said...
I like numbers and I like analysis and I'm good at it.
One of my law professors was fond of telling us that the only reason we were in law school was because we couldn't stand the sight of blood and we sucked at math. If you can do math (and are not attached to being a lawyer) there are many other disciplines where your analytical skills will provide rewarding professional opportunities.

Jim Howard said...

As brokers of government power, the importance of lawyers will grow in lockstep with the runaway inflation in the size and power of government.

While we churn out hordes of rent seeking lawyers India and China are cranking out engineers and scientists.

Who will be better off in 20 years?

Balfegor said...

Re: Too many jims

One of my law professors was fond of telling us that the only reason we were in law school was because we couldn't stand the sight of blood and we sucked at math. If you can do math (and are not attached to being a lawyer) there are many other disciplines where your analytical skills will provide rewarding professional opportunities.

Yes. But are clients well served by having innumerates who cannot do basic math represent them? There are so many legal tasks that require facility with numbers -- how good is an associate going to be a due diligence, for example, if he (or she) freaks out at the sight of numbers? Or white collar stuff -- tax evasion, say, or accounting fraud. How can you hope to defend (or prosecute) someone for that if you aren't at least minimally numerate?

If Jennifer is good at math and enjoys analysis, there are many opportunities for her in law. That's a better background than, say, French Literature or Philosophy.

Re Zach:
Does law school have a big dropout rate?

No, at least not at the top ranked schools. I think drop-outs lower their USNews score, so they basically just pass you through everything. People who drop out probably drop out for money reasons, not because they're failing classes or anything. It's difficult to flunk out -- I basically became a hikikomori my last year, but they still passed me through.

Too many jims said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Too many jims said...

Balfegor,

As someone who majored in Spanish and philosophy as an undergrad, I say, I resemble that remark. As someone, who also got a master's degree in finance, I say, you are exactly right about the usefulness of lawyers being proficient with numbers.

Jennifer said...

Too many jims and Balfegor,

It's fascinating hearing different reactions from different perspectives. I have a background in financial analysis (equity research) and am now functioning as a cost accountant/production analyst for an agriculture related firm. I think securities law could be very interesting. My Dad thinks I should stick with finance. According to Mr. Former Trial Lawyer, in-house counsel is a lame gig and companies call real lawyers for anything serious. But, I suppose I'd have to see for myself.

holdfast said...

Jennifer - A lawyer who can do math is a useful thing, but if you are really good at math and like it, then do something else.

traditionalguy said...

The Law Schools need to teach Legal Ethics more intensely and graduates need an internship around Older lawyers who confirm those values. The first legal ethic is thou shalt not steal from your client, and all the rest are variations of that one. Really the reputation for integrity draws rich clients and wealth. The shyster lawyer types make little in the long run. When this happens again, then Law will become a Profession again and not a high paid Sales Rep job.

Bruce Hayden said...

Well, I was somewhat good in math (BA in mathematics), and did something else (software design). But ultimately, I followed in my father's steps, and went to law school. And, despite maybe a rockier career, I don't regret it. But then, if you are really good with science, you may have more fun where I am as a patent attorney, than you would in most other occupations.

My father (BS in business before his JD) used to complain about all the attorneys who couldn't handle figures - but in his case, it meant that they couldn't read a balance sheet. He started practicing in 1950, and it appears that it hasn't gotten better since then.

Rich said...

I am an instructor at a University in New Jersey and was told recently that our appilcations were up 23% for undergraduate and 40% for graduate.

Yes many are coming so they do not have a dead spot on their resume but being a state school our tuition is at least semi-reasonable.

Rhett said...

I am just about to finish law school and even with a pretty solid academic record, I am having to look very hard for a job. I have had some promising interviews with some great firms, but no solid offers yet.

I've posted my resume and other application material online. I would appreciate any traffic to my site: http://rhettlemmel.com/

If you have any comments about the site please e-mail me.

Dave said...

A friend of mine got a BS in poli sci with a minor in math, an MS in poli sci with a field in bio-politics (don't ask), then a JD so he could go to work for the Patent Office in biological patenting (Section 23 or something?). After about 5 years with the govt he's now advising people on bio patents.

He loves it, but he scoped out the potentials before going to law school. He knew that if he had the right credentials (1n 1995) he could pursue this course, and he loves it.

I would advise anyone going to law school today to try to do the same. I'm busy churning out (well, not churning so much) Master of Public Administration types, and budgeting is the big deal. It's amazing how many people want to work as middle to upper level govt managers who have an actual antipathy to numbers.

kentuckyliz said...

Jennifer, why not be a forensic accountant? Sounds like you have a good background to go to work for the FBI.

Pass the fava beans, Clarice.

Eli Blake said...

I hear there is going to be an opening at the Supreme Court.

Time to get those Law School applications in the mail and see if I can fast track it through.

Eric said...

While we churn out hordes of rent seeking lawyers India and China are cranking out engineers and scientists.

Yes, and we're bringing those Indians and Chinese over here to work at low wages on H1b visas. People who are capable of being engineers and scientists know a rigged game when they see one.