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Author Topic: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years  (Read 2407 times)

jack24

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2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« on: June 11, 2012, 10:42:13 AM »
http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/06/08/law-school-class-of-2011-jobs-data-shows-18-year-low/

I understand that the economy is tough in other careers as well, but this is still interesting.  34% of law graduates from the class of 2011 are working in a job that doesn't require a law license.

FalconJimmy

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Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2012, 11:11:54 AM »
http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/06/08/law-school-class-of-2011-jobs-data-shows-18-year-low/
34% of law graduates from the class of 2011 are working in a job that doesn't require a law license.

That really doesn't surprise me so much.  Until about 1970 or so, it was very common for people with law degrees to go into industry instead of the law.  Late 60s, early 70s is when new associate pay started to outpace private sector pay. 

A law degree's most obvious application is in the law, but we might be better served as a nation if a lot more JDs took their understanding of the law into private industry and didn't necessarily go into practice as attorneys.

jack24

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Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2012, 11:48:22 AM »
That really doesn't surprise me so much.  Until about 1970 or so, it was very common for people with law degrees to go into industry instead of the law.  Late 60s, early 70s is when new associate pay started to outpace private sector pay. 

A law degree's most obvious application is in the law, but we might be better served as a nation if a lot more JDs took their understanding of the law into private industry and didn't necessarily go into practice as attorneys.

Sure, but most students entering law school calculate the potential return on investment based on wages for jobs that require a law degree.  Paying $50,000 to $135,000 in tuition to go to law school to work in an industry is a big risk, but if that is your intention then fine.  I just think far more than 66% of new law students have a desire to work in a field that requires a law license.

legend

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Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2012, 04:08:20 PM »
I would have to say it is not that surprising either particularly considering many people at my school had no desire to be a lawyer and said so numerous times. Many wanted a J.D. to open a business, some came from rich families and wanted an educational experience, then I imagine that stat doesnt' account for students that never passed the bar as well.

It is almost not that surprising it is an 18 year low there are so many start-up companies with young people at the helm doing things that don't require a law license, which would also account for that stat. As an example one of the lawyers at my firm simply left to join his friends start up that did some kind of hippie/food thing. His position is not as an attorney, but some kind of business develpment. The organic food thing is what   he was really into and no law license is required for his current job. This type of situation is pretty common nower days. In the 70's, 80's and so on people were much more likley to stay at a company for 20-30 years. Recent graduates today are much more mobile and try many different paths.

Maybe it is just the economy and law school is a scam, but the above reasons could certainly play into these stats.  Furthermore, I would imagine the stats that were kept 18 years ago were not as accurate. Computers & the interent have made tracking stats much easier and still they are unreliable particularly for employment data. I personally never reported my info to my school even though I was employed. I had nothing against my school I just never got around to it and so I would have been unreported. Everybody draws an inference like it is the school's responsibilty to track down their grads, but most people probably move change their contact info and simply forget law school ever existed once they pass the bar and trying to impress their clients & boss.

Again it could be the market is terrible I graduated before 2009, but I have seen lawyers that were admitted after I was in courtrooms so there is work out there.

It is an interesting article though thanks for posting. Just offering some counter-arguments for entertainment.

Maintain FL 350

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Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2012, 05:41:28 PM »
Those numbers don't surprise me one bit. The market is bad right now, and may remain that way for years. I wonder, however, how many recent grads simply refuse to accept jobs that they think are "beneath" them? Do alot of young grads have a $$$ figure in mind, and refuse to work for less? I'm also surpised by how many grads refuse to go into solo practice. Don't get me wrong, I'm fully aware of how tough it would be to start up a solo practice fresh out of law school. But if I'd been looking for a job unsuccessfully for nine months, I'd take anything.

M_Cool

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Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2012, 03:36:24 AM »
Those numbers don't surprise me one bit. The market is bad right now, and may remain that way for years. I wonder, however, how many recent grads simply refuse to accept jobs that they think are "beneath" them? Do alot of young grads have a $$$ figure in mind, and refuse to work for less? I'm also surpised by how many grads refuse to go into solo practice. Don't get me wrong, I'm fully aware of how tough it would be to start up a solo practice fresh out of law school. But if I'd been looking for a job unsuccessfully for nine months, I'd take anything.

There are some jobs that aren't worth taking, or are actually bigger resume killers than being unemployed. The market is the market - if there were jobs out there worth taking, people would take them. There isn't some mass boycott of worthwhile jobs being turned down out of some sense of entitlement, as you seem to be implying. To the extent there are jobs out there that are going unfilled, the market has deemed them worthless.

jack24

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Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2012, 10:56:42 AM »
You've all made great points, but I personally think the 34% figure is pretty surprising.  50 in a class of 150 going into a job that doesn't require a license?  I appreciate that a JD helps you learn to think like a lawyer, but that's a major investment to work in a non law job.   If you look at the statistics at higher ranked schools, it's clear that the percentage of students working in non law jobs goes up as ranking goes down.  Maybe more students at T3 and T4 schools went to school with non-law ambitions, but I can't imagine there is that significant of a difference.

Take a look at Cooley, Florida Coastal, Thomas Jefferson, and Golden Gate.   According to lawschooltransparency.com (I can't speak to it's reliability), they all have a full-time legal rate of 31%.    That's horrible.   Or look at the university of Oklahoma, a decent school where most people reported their salaries.  They have a 49.7% full time legal rate.   Seriously, a 50-50 shot of working in a full-time legal job from a good state school?  That's pretty brutal.  I seriously doubt half of the OK grads went to law school with non-law ambitions.

My point is, if only 66% of grads nationally work in bar-required jobs, then it's reasonable to believe that the lower ranked schools are much worse.

legend

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Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2012, 06:17:58 PM »
Again we can never know the exact reasons or what each individuals situation is, but I believe the schools you mentioned have large part-time programs. Many part-time students go to further their already existing career, seeking an educational challenge, or for any number of reasons that may not be specifcially guided to obtain a typical attorney job. I personally never think that is a good idea, but part-time law school is on the rise and I am not even sure it existed 20 years ago. I would imagine many part-timers stay in their old careers that didn't require a law license.

So part-timing could be one factor in thse numbers and a reason for the disparity between higher ranked schools. I did a cursory look and noticed Yale, Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, and Boalt did not offer part-time programs.

Then at a school like Cooley the majority of studnets are part timers 1,289 part timers compared to 221 Full-Timers. http://www.lsac.org/LSACResources/Publications/2011OG/aba1796.pdf

I imagine most part-timers already have a career that did not require a law license and did not feel secure enough to leave their old job to go law school. If they kept that job for four years odds are they will not leave it to start a new career from scratch. This may be a significant factor in the numbers you.

My theory could be 100% wrong, but I would like to see how the numbers played out for full-timers v. part timers at these schools. If any info like that exists feel to free post for my own curiousity.

As an aside I personally never think part-time law school is a good idea. You should go all in or avoid law school. Part-timing is going to be an extra year of your life and if you weren't secure enough to leave your old job odds are you won't be anymore secure four years later. You also will not have any desire  start a new career from scratch, and then you paid 100k to be in the same spot. Furthermore, odds are you will finish near the bottom of your class if you were working all through law school and get no legal experience because you will be in your old position.

Granted part-timing does work for some and I am nothing more than an anonymous internet poster that didn't do part-time law school,  but I think part-timing is the culprit behind the poor employment numbers at many schools. The reason is for the facts I mentioned above again just a theory, but it makes sense to me.




Maintain FL 350

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Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2012, 06:27:15 PM »
Those numbers don't surprise me one bit. The market is bad right now, and may remain that way for years. I wonder, however, how many recent grads simply refuse to accept jobs that they think are "beneath" them? Do alot of young grads have a $$$ figure in mind, and refuse to work for less? I'm also surpised by how many grads refuse to go into solo practice. Don't get me wrong, I'm fully aware of how tough it would be to start up a solo practice fresh out of law school. But if I'd been looking for a job unsuccessfully for nine months, I'd take anything.

There are some jobs that aren't worth taking, or are actually bigger resume killers than being unemployed. The market is the market - if there were jobs out there worth taking, people would take them. There isn't some mass boycott of worthwhile jobs being turned down out of some sense of entitlement, as you seem to be implying. To the extent there are jobs out there that are going unfilled, the market has deemed them worthless.

I certainly don't mean to imply that there is some "mass boycott of worthwhile jobs". Obviously, the vast majority of law school grads would take a good job if offered one. I'm simply asking a question: are some people refusing to take crappy jobs because they think that they deserve better? Your comment that "some jobs aren't worth taking, or are actually bigger resume killers than being unemployed" seems to indicate that my suspicion is true. 

I've worked at both private firms and government law offices, and I can't think of a single legal job (including doc review) that looks worse on your resume than a huge blank spot. Please don't get me wrong, I completely understand the frustration and anger that someone can experience when they've spent 150k on a degree and aren't getting a good return on the investment.

I think that there are three basic problems: 1) a terrible economy,  2) huge student loan debts, and 3) unrealistic expectations. Many of the people I went to law school with were entirely unrealistic about their post-graduation options. They thought that a law degree guaranteed them a comfortable income right off the bat. They also accrued so much debt that only a high paying job could possibly service the payments.

The fact is, if you graduate in the bottom half of your class from a T2-T4 (maybe even some T1s!) you will need to hustle like crazy to get some experience during those first few years out of school so that you can eventually land a good job. You may need to move to another city or move in with your parents, you may need to take crummy DUI and PI cases, and you may have to work very long hours for very little pay. It sucks, but this is the reality of the situation. This is why I constantly urge people to research their post-law school options before accruing the debt, and to choose scholarships over rankings.

Duncanjp

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Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2012, 01:37:40 AM »
Just speculating here, but the unrealistic expectations of some (perhaps many) who enroll in law school doubtless stem from inexperience with the world outside their college dorms. The money fallacy is one aspect. But I'd really like to know how many young grads are attracted to law school every year after watching TV dramas and movies that glamorize the practice of law by featuring supermodel attorneys who snap a constant barrage of witty moral barbs at slimy male associates and hero lawyers who zealously rescue the innocent accused from the reckless grip of injustice. It's entertainment, I guess, if you like that sort of thing. My wife loves those shows. (Committed law student here and I usually can't stand shows about lawyers unless Marisa Tomei is involved.) But the reality is that practicing law can be a lonely occupation, with heavy pressure, long hours, and unfortunate consequences for snapping too many witty moral barbs at people. Smart attorneys keep their mouths shut most of the time. The attorneys I work with and the professors at my school are all very bright people, but God, they're also terribly ordinary for the most part. There is very little sparkle and glam. In fact, several attorneys of my acquaintance, excellent lawyers who have toiled in law for many years, have assumed the rather sad demeanor of old soldiers who have simply seen too many people die.

But nobody in her right mind wants to sit and watch that.