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  • Think Twice Before Heading to Law School

    10/4/2012 4:28:51 PM Posted by Patrick Coyle
    Law School Meme

    By Jiesi Zhao

    In the past, students were encouraged to attend professional schools. Law school was no different. 

    However, with the increase in tuition rates the overwhelming consensus about attending law school is that it is a bad investment and a sure way to rack up a ton of debt. According to data gathered by the American Bar Association, "[o]nly 55 percent of 43,735 graduates in 2011 had a law-related job nine months after graduation." Nevertheless, the feeling among elite students who attend T14 schools is that the plight of being bound by debt would not apply to them. However, this is simply not true anymore. Even students who score at the top 1% of the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and have the privilege of attending one of the nation's top law school programs are worried about how to pay off their student loans.

    Thus, perhaps tuition rates aren't so much the problem as the stagnant economy. Students at top law schools are not guaranteed to get the same kinds of job offers with the same pay they would have received less than a decade ago.

    In fact, the economic policies by the current administration have had a significantly poor impact on law students. The New York Times has reported that "[s]ince 2008, some 15,000 attorney and legal-staff jobs at large firms have vanished" and that "[a]ssociates have been laid off, partners nudged out the door and recruitment programs have been scaled back or eliminated." And the general feeling here at the University of Michigan Law School is that even though there is some hiring and movement going on, the legal sector is not robust. In fact, many fellow students have stated a general sense that this year's hiring numbers are worse than the previous year's.

    If there ever was a profession that has an interest in getting the economy re-charged, the legal sector should be at the top of that list. And it is also yet another indicator of the current administration's dismal numbers when it comes to employment rate for younger persons. More than ever, young people, including law school students, have an incentive to support changes in economic policy.  

    Jiesi Zhao is a Foundation activist and a current law school student at the University of Michigan.

    • Readers' Comments

    • I'm a 41 year old male who lives in Clinton Township. I've had a passion for public policy as a young person. I'm seriously considering law school. I'm afraid of incurring a large debt. I've also looked at Master in Public Adminstration programs too. Any suggestions on which route would be more beneficial?
      Posted by Lazaros on 10/04/2012
    • Law School engulfs your entire life, so I honestly would not recommend it anyone who is not 100% sure that its what they want to do. I also would not recommend it to anyone who just wants to have a law degree and doesn't wan't to practice as an attorney. Hope that helps!
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