The Wall Street Journal had an interesting piece today on how law school admissions were down by 11.5%, which makes this year's total number of applications the lowest since 2001. Becoming an attorney has never guaranteed a good life, but now the path is even more precarious. As the article points out, for some incredibly high level partners who can bill $1,000/hour, they're doing ok. But it took them an incredibly long time to get there. And for all those students who graduate every year who can't find a job? Life's going to be a lot tougher for them. In fact,
"Even the American Bar Association has seen fit to drive home the risks of law school. "The rising cost of a legal education and the realities of the legal job market mean that going to law school may not pay off," the ABA said in a 2009 report, which noted that the average law student could expect to graduate with more than $100,000 in school debt." Source
As one of those attorneys who's had her ups and downs with the legal job market, I've tried my best to tell prospective law students my honest opinions on the value of law school relative to its cost. I don't regret going to law school in my case (I met my husband there, and I got a great legal education), but I do wish people had been more frank with me before I went. However, in 2005 the economy was still booming, I anticipated getting a great job and I wasn't worried in the least about paying back my loans.
Oh, how times have changed.