Friday, July 04, 2014

Too Many Desperate Law School Grads Spoil the Broth....

I learned something interesting from an executive from a large health care organization, the other day. She receives 200-300 job applications for any available position within her organization -- not much of a surprise given the economy and the fact that it's an attractive employer. But she indicated also that, for a lot of positions, they are flooded with applications from recent law school graduates -- to the point that hitting the entry for "law school" toward the top of somebody's résumé results in a near-automatic rejection of the application. (Odds are that the initial screening is done by computer....) It's not that a law school graduate with an appropriate job history or qualifications couldn't do some of the posted jobs, or couldn't learn the position over time. It's that so many desperate law grads are applying for the jobs that hitting a reference to law school or a "J.D." suggests that there's a very low possibility that the candidate is qualified for the position as posted.

No matter what you hear from people who claim that the law degree is a flexible degree that allows you do do more than practice law, unless you have confirmed both that it's true for the industry in which you hope to work and that the industry is hiring recent law grads, don't believe it -- and if you find such an industry, consider how small it is and how few graduates they hire before choosing law school as a path to employment. If you're interested in working in an industry that does not regularly hire people with law degrees, find out what degrees they prefer and get one of those degrees instead of a J.D.

I'm not optimistic about the future of the legal profession, or the potential for law school graduates who aren't able (or aren't willing) to pursue BigLaw careers to find remunerative work in smaller legal practices. Some will manage to do so, either starting their own firms or finding their way into legal jobs that allow them to create a foundation for later promotion or lateral moves. But from what I see, despite the reduced numbers of students attending law school, the future of the profession doesn't look particularly bright -- and if you're not going to end up working in law, in my opinion for most fields your three years of law school are either going to be a neutral or a detriment.

1 comment:

  1. People are FINALLY starting to catch on that lawyer does not equal rich. When I tell people that I make more in teaching, more and more are nodding and saying, "I believe it" than before when they'd be all, "Get outta here!". I just had this conversation with someone (blanking on who/where because I am old) and they were like, "But you can always start your own firm!" I gently explained that sure, you can start whatever you want, but in law school they don't teach you the fine art of making clients pay. Look at the ads--it's always "aggressive! cheapest around! low prices! e-z payment plans!" People are taking on divorces for $500 or less a shot. So sure, you can start you own firm but....

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