Thanks, New York Times. Thanks for depressing every law student in America. Fall semester is about to begin, and I wasn't going to talk about this major drag of an article, but it's charting as #1 on the NYT's most-emailed list.
Now, the sheer depressingness of the thing isn't what's annoying me most. It's that it relies absurdly heavily on quotes from one Derek Fanciullo, who "lost his job as a television reporter two years ago" and borrowed $210,000 to go to NYU School of Law. Why Fanciullo is the big source, you tell me. He was a reporter, and the article was — duh — written by a reporter. Maybe reporters believe reporters, but it looks kind of lazy to me. What is life like for a law student looking for work? Let's report the quotes of a reporter who went to law school.
Getting a job in a law firm was a sure thing? A birthright? Law was a green pasture of stability, a comfortable life? Of course, things have changed:
This fall, law students are competing for half as many openings at big firms as they were last year in what is shaping up to be the most wrenching job search season in over 50 years.That's harsh. Terrible. It needs to be said. But let's not pretend that it was ever right to waltz into law school thinking if I pay up what they're asking, I get a lock on a great-paying job. Fanciullo is building his complaint on a shaky foundation.
With the cost of law school skyrocketing over the years, the implicit arrangement between students and the most expensive and prestigious schools has only strengthened: the student takes on hefty debt to pay tuition, and the school issues the golden ticket to a job at a high-paying firm — if that’s what the student wants.See? The reporter is endorsing Fanciullo's fantasy that the student, by paying big tuition, got a deal, an "implicit arrangement." You mean a contract? This notion seems to implicitly cite this recently reported case, where a graduate sues her school because she didn't get a job.
The NYT article also quotes a Penn law student, Julia Figurelli saying: "Had I seen where the market was going, I would’ve gone to a lower-ranked but less expensive public school." Well, there's a ray of light for students at some schools, including mine (the University of Wisconsin). Here's a ranking of law schools according to value. Wisconsin with a #20 value ranking and a #35 U.S. News ranking is apparently one of the best choices. Georgia, Alabama, George Mason, and Iowa also look very good, along with plenty of others. State schools are especially good choices if you want to remain in that state — where, if it's Wisconsin, you will not have to take the bar exam...