The Washington Post ran this article last week on the decline of law school enrollment. From the article:
Nearly 46,000 people have applied so far to go to an accredited U.S. law school in the most recent admissions cycle, a figure that puts applications on track to hit just short of 53,000 total. By comparison, there were a total of 77,000 applicants in 2010 and 90,000 in 2004,….
What’s a law school to do?
Even better practical training might be courses on bar tending, waiting tables and retail sales.
What about job prospects?
Nine months after graduation, a little more than half of the class of 2013 had found full-time jobs as lawyers, down from 77 percent of 2007, according to the most recent data from the American Bar Association and the National Association for Law Placement. Those who did find jobs had starting salaries that were 8 percent below the 2009 peak, averaging $78,205 in 2013.
These people have college degrees, a law school degree, are fairly smart (at least book smart), and yet only half can find a job?
That’s terrible. And there is no way for law schools to honestly sugar coat it.
“Law school is not a ticket to financial security,” said Kyle McEntee, a Vanderbilt University Law School graduate who helped found the group Law School Transparency. “There’s just no evidence that the people starting school now are going to end up okay, and to me that’s really concerning.”
But it’s all good, since law school graduates aren’t homeless:
“These people will be okay,” she said, comparing them with the homeless clients whom her students represent in the defense clinic at Ohio State University’s law school. “I did not find evidence of homeless law graduates in my study.”
It’s gotten pretty bad when the message for law school graduates is “be glad you aren’t homeless.”
Then over the weekend the New York Times ran this article on how bad it is for law school graduates. The article noted the debt law school graduates have:
Over all, nearly 85 percent of law graduates have taken out student loans, according to the website Law School Transparency, and 2010 law graduates accumulated debt averaging $77,364 at public law schools and $112,007 at private ones.
What none of the struggling law graduates ever seem to say is the BS line espoused by law schools that a law degree has a lot of value beyond practicing law. Some value? Sure. Value that justifies a house note sized student loan payment? Sorry, but no.