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.

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