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A Message to Aspiring Lawyers: Caveat Emptor (New jobs annually: 21,800. No. of graduates: 44,000)
Wall Street Journal ^ | 01/04/2013 | Chris Fletcher

Posted on 01/06/2013 7:42:41 AM PST by SeekAndFind

There is a crisis in law-school education, but don't expect the institutions to tell potential applicants about it. In short, there are far too many graduates for the number of jobs available, and the majority of those who get jobs are not being paid nearly enough to service their debt.

Nationally there are twice as many graduates as there are jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the economy will provide 21,880 new jobs for lawyers annually between 2010 and 2020; law schools since 2010, however, have produced more than 44,000 graduates each year. Yet schools continue to enroll more students than the market demands and to raise tuition faster than inflation. The result is exploding debt loads for current students and graduates whose employment prospects are appalling.

To be sure, the employment prospects for Americans across a broad swath of society have been grim in recent years. But the legal profession has clearly lost any reputation it might have once had as a safe, prosperous haven in troubled times.

I graduated in 2011 and am one of the "lucky" ones. Within six months of graduation I secured a job in my area of interest, international human rights. My class entered the worst American job market in 18 years—only 56.7% of law graduates found full-time jobs lasting at least a year and requiring passage of a bar exam.

For many new hires, even finding a job with a law firm might not be quite the cause for celebration it once was. According to the American Bar Association, the average amount borrowed by students attending private law schools has gone up 78% in the past decade, to $124,950 in 2011 from $70,147 in 2002. However, these loan figures don't reflect the true burden.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: jobs; lawschool; lawyers; unemployment

1 posted on 01/06/2013 7:42:52 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

From the article:

* The average interest rate on federal loans for graduate students is 8%, which starts to accrue while the student is still in school.

* The typical law graduate often holds debt in excess of $150,000 by the time repayment begins.

* Salaries have plummeted, with the mean private-practice compensation today, $78,653, falling 16% from where it was in 2009 ($93,454), and 8% from 2002 ($85,518)

* Law-school tuition has increased 434.8% at private schools since 1985

Author then gets personal. He says:

“In my case, although I found employment, my finances are precarious. With $169,000 in law-school debt and an annual salary of $55,000 (which is within the average range for a small firm), I cannot start paying off my debt in a responsible and timely manner, much less afford to have a wedding, start a family, buy a home, etc.”


2 posted on 01/06/2013 7:45:42 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Can’t lawyers just hang out their own shingle?


3 posted on 01/06/2013 7:51:08 AM PST by The Duke
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To: SeekAndFind
These new grads aren't looking in the right place. The Dept. of JustUs is looking for aspiring lawyers with certain discriminating qualifications*.

*unmentionable (that's racist)

4 posted on 01/06/2013 7:56:04 AM PST by shove_it (the 0bama regime are the people Huxley, Orwell and Rand warned us about)
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To: shove_it

RE: with certain discriminating qualifications

What if these “discriminating qualifications” are inherent?


5 posted on 01/06/2013 7:59:09 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
there used to be a handful of professions that were tickets to the good life for smart hard working kids from lower to middle class.

Doctors
Lawyers
Airline Pilots

Deregulation destroyed Airline Pilots
Obamacare destroyed (is going to destroy) doctors

and now the last one still standing lawyers are too plentiful.

6 posted on 01/06/2013 8:07:22 AM PST by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama lied .. the economy died.)
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To: SeekAndFind
If I see or hear of an other asshat graduate pointing out they are under employed for the amount of student debt they have and adding to that they will not be able to buy a home or car or some other commodity, I am going to scream. Supposedly, in this case of attorneys, completing college shows a person has certain analytical talents and an ability to use those talents in a profession. Now then, how can one have any demonstrated analytical skills when they cannot even determine they are borrowing so much money to attend school they can never pay it back or if they do, they will have no life for the foreseeable future?

Then again, I was raised in an practical era during which there were few financing avenues available to tempt those with no idea of what the world outside of academia held for them. Time to grow up is at hand for them now. For the writer of the article he learned to late. Hopefully those who read it will heed the advice within.

7 posted on 01/06/2013 8:09:17 AM PST by Mouton (108th MI Group.....68-71)
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To: SeekAndFind

I saw the writting on the wall with regard to college costs years ago and encouraged my wife to become a college professor so that our children could someday get a free college education (one of the common benefits of being a professor) making college’s spiralling costs meaningless to us.

I estimate that one benefits will be worth a couple of million by the time our 4 children are college age. And the best part is... it’s basically tax free income


8 posted on 01/06/2013 8:11:48 AM PST by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama lied .. the economy died.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I can tell you this: part of the problem is the law firms themselves who have as their mission statements such drivel as: Make as much money as possible. Some of these blokes are making $1M a year and couldn’t care less that because of their threats to take clients with them when they leave if someone touches “one penny” of “their” money, new lawyers can’t be hired. The pyramid eats itself. yech, they make me want to puke. And they don’t do their own work, they have paralegals and secretaries who they treat poorly and shout at, pull phones out of walls, it’s wrong. They demand associates contribute to political campaigns, the whole thing is rotten.


9 posted on 01/06/2013 8:16:45 AM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: Mouton

RE: how can one have any demonstrated analytical skills when they cannot even determine they are borrowing so much money to attend school they can never pay it back or if they do, they will have no life for the foreseeable future?

I believe the problem is one of unrealistic expectations. There perhaps was a time not too long ago when jobs for lawyers (with good compensation to boot ) were widely available. That was the cause of the unrealistic expectations and the risky dive into taking on expensive college loans.

The good times were real in the past.... they are not anymore and won’t be back for at least 4 years.

BTW, this isn’t only a lesson for law school students, it is applicable for many other college students (Yes, even those studying to be doctors ).


10 posted on 01/06/2013 8:16:56 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
I worked for attorneys for 35 years. Back in the early days, the legal profession was called “recession-proof” and it was. If course, back then, we had a glut of businesses, particularly iron, steel and coal. Related businesses, such as the railroads, were booming. These businesses were the biggest consumers of legal services.

But no one figured on the collapse of these industries. Once most of them were gone, the legal profession more or less has gone too. Some law firms have survived through numerous mergers and acquisitions. I worked for one firm that was bought and sold several times. Some firms carved out niches — those that focus on auto accidents, medical malpractice, etc. — but more than a few firms have failed, and the ones that survived don’t make the serious money they once did during the golden age of industry.

Of course, the hard times now translate into fewer jobs in the field. And it’s not only lawyers who can’t fins jobs. Support jobs in the field have dwindled. I would love to work part-time again, but part-time and even full-time secretarial positions here are practically non-existent. The last firm I worked for has figured out that because nearly every attorney is computer savvy, it doesn’t need as many secretaries as it once did. In the old days, a secretary would work for one or two attorneys at the most. Now, one secretary works for three, four, five or more people.

I’m sorry about the difficulties you are having. It stinks.

11 posted on 01/06/2013 8:17:18 AM PST by fatnotlazy
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To: SeekAndFind

Student loans = Indentured Servants.


12 posted on 01/06/2013 8:17:56 AM PST by CIB-173RDABN (California does not have a money problem, it has a spending problem.)
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To: shove_it

you can’t get hired for those puffed up salaried positions unless you pass a litmus test


13 posted on 01/06/2013 8:17:56 AM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: The Duke

“Can’t lawyers just hang out their own shingle?”

***

Very risky. Like many other small businesses, most fail. And it’s much harder than working for a firm. As a sole practitioner, you have to do all the work and take all the risk. You don’t have others to spread it all around.


14 posted on 01/06/2013 8:23:08 AM PST by fatnotlazy
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To: SeekAndFind
Within six months of graduation I secured a job in my area of interest, international human rights.

Oh Boy, what a loser. This "field" didn't exist when I was in law school. Sounds like a typical non-profit job funded by taypayer money...

15 posted on 01/06/2013 8:24:24 AM PST by Cowboy Bob (Soon the "invisible hand" will press the economic "reset" button.)
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To: TexasFreeper2009
Deregulation destroyed Airline Pilots

Bullchips. Deregulation created more pilot jobs, though their antiquated unions continue to prop wages higher than the market would otherwise dictate. To argue against deregulation is to argue against the free market.

16 posted on 01/06/2013 8:30:03 AM PST by Entrepreneur (In hoc signo vinces)
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To: The Duke

“Can’t lawyers just hang out their own shingle?”

Many do, but only after a bit of experience. One aspect that is never addressed in these types of articles is that few law schools make much effort to produce competent, practice ready attorneys. Indoctrinated in every self serving systemic shibboleth, most definitely; networked, a little bit; actually able to carry the simplest case from intake through trial? Hell no, and don’t even think about appeals.

What there is, and will probably always be, is a shortage of disciplined, effective litigators. These are people who actually relish the formal and ritual evisceration of their adversaries in court. It is high pressure, stressful, often joyless and often leads to a lot of substance abuse, frustration, anger and bitterness. Tests have indicated different hormonal proportions between office lawyers and their more aggressive (and generally unpleasant) trial counterparts.

Personally I think there will be a rising demand for bankruptcy attorneys and Constitutional liberty oriented criminal defense attorneys in this nascent totalitarian, socialist state, at least until they are rendered utterly ineffective via statist diktat and bipartisan collusion.

Anyway, in all of this there is a sort of economic Darwinism at work. An attorney who cannot find or generate work will win no cases either.


17 posted on 01/06/2013 8:30:16 AM PST by Psalm 144 (Capitol to the districts: "May the odds be ever in your favor.")
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To: Cowboy Bob

“Sounds like a typical non-profit job funded by taypayer money.”

They are, and they are often sinecures for the socially and politically connected children of socially and politically connected parents. Plums are never in great supply, and are seldom awarded for trifles such as sincerity or merit.

Vassalage, apple polishing and zealotry will open the doors to these ivory towers and castles in the air.


18 posted on 01/06/2013 8:37:44 AM PST by Psalm 144 (Capitol to the districts: "May the odds be ever in your favor.")
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To: SeekAndFind

I agree, this is a lesson for all aspiring college applicants, not just lawyers albeit that was the center of the article.

For quite a few years, college was not so expensive to be unattainable for almost anyone who wanted to go and wished to work for it. As is usually the case, when the government got involved in the student loan business, circa 1965, that all changed and continued to change for the worse with every attempt to “reform” the system. Costs go up as money available for a product increases because the money increases demand unsustainably. Centers of higher learning became consumer product dispensors with their own marketing arms. Sadly, education suffered by dilution of excellence due to broader based admissions standards and stretching of available professorship talent. Lay over all this the government regulations which come with the taking of government funding and you get what we got now.

All IMHO of course.


19 posted on 01/06/2013 8:40:08 AM PST by Mouton (108th MI Group.....68-71)
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To: SeekAndFind

I’m an attorney - in a private practice. Note that the article is talking about “jobs.” I don’t doubt that this is true. Fewer firms want to hire lawyers as employees. The trend is really technology-driven. There’s little reason nowadays to actually have lawyers in-house in a full-on employer/employee relationship, when technological advances make possible and profitable contracting with a plethora of specialized attorneys on a just-in-time contract basis. The big firms are all falling one by one. Coudert Brothers is gone, to name but one. Other Big Law firms are laying off and cutting partners. It’s a real bloodbath. But guys like me - sole practitioners on Main Street - hardly notice. In short, there are lots of opportunities out there. In fact, there are whole market segments that aren’t served at all. It’s just that you have to use technology, contract with the right people, and be flexible.


20 posted on 01/06/2013 8:47:58 AM PST by Gluteus Maximus
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To: TexasFreeper2009
Deregulation destroyed Airline Pilots
Obamacare destroyed (is going to destroy) doctors

The Medical System is Crashing
under the weight of Many Factors

About 40% FP’s, 1n 2008, intended to retire in 5 years.
They are dropping out precipitously where we live
Physicians are generally good at projective thinking
and are projecting a zero crossing in work vs benefit

I expect Hospitals will start closing about 2015
I expect an attempt to resurrect the Public Health Hospital System
Having trained at Charity Hospital, in New Orleans,
I'm under no illusions as to what that means

Shortages of Common Drugs are occurring Now
This will accelerate

I hope the public can get used to Frontier Medicine
I expect about 20,000,000 excess deaths in the process
Much more with a breakdown in Sewage/Water systems
Or the equivalent of a Plague

Fasten your seat-belt, It's going to be a bumpy ride

21 posted on 01/06/2013 8:56:45 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: Gluteus Maximus

“In short, there are lots of opportunities out there. In fact, there are whole market segments that aren’t served at all.”

Exactly! There has never been more need than there is now, but much of it is plain work for plain people and modest businesses. I also think there is a niche that has not been properly examined or filled, in preventive practice - helping businesses and individuals avoid conditions and situations which invite legal problems down the road.


22 posted on 01/06/2013 9:01:08 AM PST by Psalm 144 (Capitol to the districts: "May the odds be ever in your favor.")
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To: Gluteus Maximus

Same here, sole practice.
There’s plenty of work for lawyers now: debt collections, foreclosures, bankruptcies, criminal law, divorce—child custody/visitation/support, and so forth and so on: nitty-gritty law.
Signs o’ the times and it ain’t for the faint-hearted. Not that these areas weren’t always there, they just happen to be booming as of late. We aren’t liked very much, until we get that call.
Preachers own the month of June, lawyers, the rest of the year.


23 posted on 01/06/2013 9:32:28 AM PST by tumblindice (America's founding fathers: All armed conservatives.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Within six months of graduation I secured a job in my area of interest, international human rights.

I would say this guy was VERY lucky.

24 posted on 01/06/2013 10:02:03 AM PST by PGR88
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To: fatnotlazy

That is so true about the collapse of industries affecting the law practice.

Here in Washington state we used to have several railroads, a lot of fishing and timbering and the Alaska pipeline. The envioros have destroyed almost all the heavy industry with the spotted owl and other bs stuff.

Although the legal profession is a paper, soft sort of business, it needs heavy industry in order to prosper. Most of the decline in this state has taken place in the last ten years. We have yet another Dem governor which will no doubt continue to decrease the possibilities for all kinds of booming business, including the law.


25 posted on 01/06/2013 10:15:40 AM PST by angry elephant (Endangered species in Seattle)
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To: fatnotlazy

That is so true about the collapse of industries affecting the law practice.

Here in Washington state we used to have several railroads, a lot of fishing and timbering and the Alaska pipeline. The envioros have destroyed almost all the heavy industry with the spotted owl and other bs stuff.

Although the legal profession is a paper, soft sort of business, it needs heavy industry in order to prosper. Most of the decline in this state has taken place in the last ten years. We have yet another Dem governor which will no doubt continue to decrease the possibilities for all kinds of booming business, including the law.


26 posted on 01/06/2013 10:15:40 AM PST by angry elephant (Endangered species in Seattle)
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To: 444Flyer

bflr


27 posted on 01/06/2013 10:18:07 AM PST by 444Flyer (Genesis 12:3)
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To: SeekAndFind

Formula should include number of jobs cut or sent overseas, retirements and deaths of employees, permanent disabilities in order to get a more complete picture of the problem. Layoffs, firings etc.


28 posted on 01/06/2013 10:24:28 AM PST by morphing libertarian
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To: Entrepreneur

um... I didn’t say anything about “more”

who cares if there are “more” of a job that pays peanuts.

Airline pilots used to earn as much as doctors and lawyers and were nearly as respected as astronauts, now... they are basically fancy bus drivers with similar salaries. And the fall started with deregulation.

I remember when I was a kid and flying on a plane was considered a priviledge that people dressed up for, now we are just hurded on like cattle with not so much as a peanut.

But ... as I am sure you will point out next, flying is MUCH cheaper now! *sigh*


29 posted on 01/06/2013 11:47:09 AM PST by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama lied .. the economy died.)
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To: TexasFreeper2009
um... I didn’t say anything about “more”

who cares if there are “more” of a job that pays peanuts.

Airline pilots used to earn as much as doctors and lawyers and were nearly as respected as astronauts, now... they are basically fancy bus drivers with similar salaries. And the fall started with deregulation.

I remember when I was a kid and flying on a plane was considered a priviledge that people dressed up for, now we are just hurded on like cattle with not so much as a peanut.

But ... as I am sure you will point out next, flying is MUCH cheaper now! *sigh*

At one point riding in a car was a privilege too. Do you want to return to those days? I don't.

I believe in markets, not the coercive power of government to distort markets for rent seekers. That's the province of Jeff Immelt, Solyndra, and unions.

30 posted on 01/06/2013 12:00:51 PM PST by Entrepreneur (In hoc signo vinces)
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To: fatnotlazy; Psalm 144

Thanks for the feedback - I have a son who is just applying to law school and these insights are worth gold! :)


31 posted on 01/06/2013 1:48:46 PM PST by The Duke
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To: SeekAndFind

In some places every job is taken by lawyers. Desk jobs, all minor government jobs...all lawyers. They get hired because you can get them for about 22,900 and get the law degree for free.


32 posted on 01/06/2013 2:13:23 PM PST by Chickensoup (Leftist Totalitarian Fascism coming to a country like yours.)
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To: fatnotlazy

Most lawyers I know became lobbyists.


33 posted on 01/06/2013 2:16:21 PM PST by Chickensoup (Leftist Totalitarian Fascism coming to a country like yours.)
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To: Chickensoup

Or politicians or judges.


34 posted on 01/06/2013 2:27:07 PM PST by fatnotlazy
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