Thursday, June 26, 2014

Slate Says Now Is The Time to Go To Law School

It's no secret that there has been a lot of negative commentary in recent years about attending law school. Commenters says it costs too much , and there are too many attorneys and not enough jobs

Slate ran an article yesterday that argues the opposite - now may be the perfect time to go to law school. 

"Thanks to the historic enrollment crash that has shrunk law school classes during the past few years, it means that graduates might soon be looking at a shockingly strong job market."

In addition, grads "found more jobs overall than in 2012. And as the Wall Street Journal noted earlier this week, big law firms—the kinds offering those fat, six-figure salaries that law schools like to advertise—continued to pick up their recruiting." 

Slate broke down the numbers:
"In the fall of 2013, 39,700 students enrolled in law school. Given that about 10 percent of each law school class generally drops out, we should expect no more than 36,000 to reach commencement. In comparison, 46,776 law students graduated in 2013. So we’re talking about a potential 23 percent plunge."

For the 2013 class, "[a]mong all graduates who reported their job status, 32,775 found full-time, long-term work, meaning the job lasted at least a year. Of those jobs, 26,337 required passing the bar, meaning they were typical legal jobs. An additional 4,714 were in fields that technically did not require law degrees, but where employers preferred to hire J.D.s anyway. Finally, 1,724 were in jobs completely unrelated to law, which sounds bad, but the reality is that a certain number of graduates always do something unconnected to their degree."

The Slate article estimates that those numbers hold. "In that case, we can expect that about 91 percent of the class of 2016 will find long-term, full-time work, compared with about 72 percent last year. About 73 percent would be in full-time, long-term legal jobs, compared with 58 percent last year. Essentially, employment rates would look similar to those in 2007, when the mid-2000s legal hiring wave crested. That year, about 92 percent of graduates were employed, and 76.9 percent obtained legal jobs (including part-time and short-term)." 

While the employment outlook is better, salaries have declined. For 2013 grads who went to work at law firms, the median salary was just $95,000, compared with $125,000 in 2008

For those of you who have always dreamed of being a lawyer, now just may be the perfect time to go. 

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