The New York Times reported last week that law school enrollment continues to plummet. Enrollment levels are their lowest in forty-one years, when there were 53 fewer law schools. There are 30% fewer students than just four years ago.
Poor job prospects lead the list of reasons for the decline:
That would seem a worthy investment if the job market awaiting new law school graduates looked more promising. But the bar association’s employment figures are dismal. In 2013, fewer than two-thirds of newly minted lawyers had found jobs that required passing the bar exam.
Part of the problem is that jobs that once required lawyers — for sifting through documents before a trial, for instance — are increasingly being automated. Do-it-yourself services, like LegalZoom, are gaining popularity with consumers.
“There’s also outsourcing,” Professor Campos said. “India has millions of people who speak English perfectly well and they can handle basic legal work. The only segment of the market that isn’t affected is the elite [soul sucking] firms, the Wachtell Liptons of the world. But that represents a very tiny slice of the market.”
Meanwhile, many law school deans continue to spew the b.s.:
There are some optimists about the future of the profession, however. Some law deans argue that the country needs more people studying law, not fewer.
The last person in the world you should take advice from on whether to go to law school is the dean of a law school. They get paid to sell the business. It would be like asking a Toyota salesman if you should buy a Toyota or a Blackberry salesman if the Blackberry is dead.
It’s even worse in Mississippi. We have the same factors impacting the legal market in the rest of the country, plus the fact that we are still in a recession from the bursting of the litigation bubble.
I’m not saying no one should go to law school. But it shouldn’t be something people do because they can get in and don’t know what else to do. These days you need to really want to be a lawyer.
Read my prior posts on law schools here.