Post # 1
So this really doesn’t help all the bees already in law school or us bees that are already lawyers, but I found a really good article describing some of the drawbacks of law school that I wanted to share. I am actually one of the “lucky ones” who has a job and am able to make my loan payments, but I know SO MANY of my friends are in the exact situation described in this article. I almost feel like there needs to be a nation-wide public service announcement because I hear people talk about going to law school all the time like getting into law school is ensuring a successful financial future and it is just not true.
Post # 3
@CorgiTales: I completely agree! So many people I graduated with have sent me this article. Don’t go to law school!
Post # 4
Also – “financial success” is only “ensured” if you work for a big firm or corporation and can handle that lifestyle (and are good at your job, can meet your billable hours requirements, don’t get laid off, blah blah blah). I work for the government, and while I have a really important, demanding, challenging job (that I really like most days), I do not make much money. I constantly stress about mortgage payments, student loans, etc. My friends who work for non-profits are in even more tenuous situations…
Post # 5
My fiancee is in law school, and she loves what she does and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I definitely don’t think people should be going to law school just because they think they will make tons of money.
Post # 6
@septcabride: “Also – “financial success” is only “ensured” if you work for a big firm or corporation and can handle that lifestyle (and are good at your job, can meet your billable hours requirements, don’t get laid off, blah blah blah).”
So important, that bit. I don’t work for a big law firm but my MOH does and I could never do it. Honestly, last year she made a bit over double what I make and given the opportunity I would keep my current job over hers. The money– assuming you can even get it– is NOT worth it.
Post # 7
I told my husband if we won the lottery I would go to law school – but not before then 🙂
Post # 8
Yeah, I agree it should be a PSA. To work so hard to not be able to do what you were trained and educated to do would be incredibly depressing.
Post # 9
Ha ha, I read the original in the Times when it was published and I immediately forwarded it to my friends. It’s sad that I absolutely LOVED law school but I hated the price. It didn’t seem worth it. I mean, I understand medical school because they have all these labs etc but law school was like undergrad in a way but it was MUCH MORE expensive. Oh well, I’m just glad I went when it was a bit cheaper. The price has DOUBLED in the decade since I entered. Ouch!!! No wonder my law school friends are a tad bitter about school loans.
Post # 10
@bRooklynRocks: The law professors have to meet what industry standard salaries are, so that’s one reason for the high expenses.
Post # 11
I feel like this should be said about all colleges. I realize Law School is crazy more expensive, but I hate the statistics that say college graduates earn X amount more in their life. If I didn’t have my loans I’d be a lot better off financially and my job is not related to my major nor did I need a degree to get it :/
Post # 12
I have so many problems with law schools. FWIW, I loved law school and I loved clerking. The practice of law is nowhere near as fun.
I think it is actually a small percentage of people that go to law school thinking that they will make tons of money. I think that most people expect to be able to make a living though.
I live in the Baltimore/DC area, and the going rate for a first-year associate at a small firm is around 50K. While the hours are definitely not as demanding as working at a big firm, these associates still aren’t working 40 hour weeks. Depending on how much loan debt the associate has, $50K isn’t always sustainable… especially if you want to save for a house or wedding, etc.
Post # 13
This should be required reading for everyone considering law school. Maybe they should include it with LSAT registration materials.
Seriously, I really find it hard to recommend law school for anyone. Yes, some new attorney still do very well…but the majority don’t.
The law firm I work at recently had an opening for a part-time law clerk. I believe the pay was around $20 per hour. We were flooded with applicants not only from law students, but from attorneys. It really was upsetting to read their resumes and see what they’d been doing since law school. There are so many experienced lawyers applying for every open legal position that I can’t imagine how a new lawyer could ever compete.
Post # 14
I have been a lurker for quite some time and managed not to register for an account until I read this post. I HATE this article. I have had it forwarded to me, posted on facebook, etc etc. If you’ll notice, the guy who is the main focus of the article went to Thomas Jefferson law school, which is a tier-four school – meaning this is by no means what happens to all law school graduates (Tier 4 is the last set of law schools approved by the ABA). I’m not trying to knock anyone who goes to a tier-four school, but obviously the employment rates and salary of law grads go up for people who go/went to the top 100 (or maybe even 150) schools, though the cost remains pretty much the same. I know there are a lot of people out there who do not have jobs and it is very unfortunate – however, this article should be more representative of the US economy at large rather than problems in the legal community. You could write this article about any specialized field/profession. Everyone these days thinks they have to go to professional school, so theres a huge flood of qualified people in a market thats not really growing.
SORRY for the rant. I don’t regret my law school choice…but maybe Im the only one. 🙂
Post # 15
@MissMoni: I’m glad you don’t regret your choice. Unfortunately, there are many people who do. Many of my friends went to law school (all tiers 1 and 2) and they’re all struggling. We live in a large city as well. It’s literally taken them years of work (the lucky ones who can get work, that is) to make any more than 25k (which is scary when they’re coming out of school 100k+ in debt).
Currently I’m in paralegal school because I am very interested in the law, but I see how it is out there and it just doesn’t seem like it’s a good idea unless you or your dad happen to know someone important.
Post # 16
@KatM: I definitely understand what youre saying – even within top tiers, you have to network and hope and it still might not work out. I actually think that being in a big city can work against you unless you went to the best school in that city. Im sure there arent Harvard, UChicago or Columbia/NYU grads having a hard time getting jobs, but there are other great schools in those cities whose graduates simply cant compete when the job market tightens. I also agree that who you know plays a huge role in the legal profession, like in politics.
I just felt like this study/article was misleading. Many people are struggling in this economy but the vast percentage of law school graduates are going to have better job opportunities than that guy. The article was geared to be shocking and it clearly worked given how widely distributed it has been.