Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years  (Read 2789 times)

legend

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 201
    • View Profile
    • legalmatch
Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2012, 08:12:44 PM »
True media makes law school and the legal profession more glamorous than it actually is. Whether you attend Harvard or one of the schools mentioned in this thread you will spend countless hours in quiet library by yourself learning the difference between an easement appurtenant and an easement in gross, or why the widget was not within the implied warrant of merchantability. There are definitely some boring aspects to being a lawyer which you do not see on law & order or the good wife.

As to the employment prospects again these numbers are so open to manipulation and as far as I know  law school is the only form of education that actually keeps any tabs at all on graduates. I honestly don't think anyone at my undergrad knows how many people graduated with a political science degree and they certainly don't have any idea whether the grads are working or not.

As for the necessity of a law license I don't know how much that stat is worth. At my law school there were quite a few people who repeatedly said they had no desire to be lawyers. I never understood that, but it was a common statement by many people and that could certainly account for the lack of people employed in positions that don't require a law license.

Maybe the market is the absolute worst it has ever been, but I honestly think everything today gets more exaggerated because jackasses like me can post on the internet at anytime, and so can everyone else. Or tweet, facebook post, or any other form of social media to tell you how life isn't going well one day and that post lasts forever. Once things pick up people stop complaining and I would be very curious to know what ended up happening to all the naysayers who posted on this board and others 5 years ago about how awful everything was. I imagine many are working now and simply went on to do better things with their lives than post anonymously on the internet like me.

jack24

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1050
    • View Profile
Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2012, 10:36:27 AM »
Here's a stat:  Just before the bar exam in 2011, I applied for a state district court clerkship that was paying $41,000.  This clerkship was located in a medium market.  I spoke with someone in the office and they said they received 120 applications from law graduates. 

Maybe it's not the worst ever, but it's bad.


FalconJimmy

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 684
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2012, 10:45:04 AM »
Here's a stat:  Just before the bar exam in 2011, I applied for a state district court clerkship that was paying $41,000.  This clerkship was located in a medium market.  I spoke with someone in the office and they said they received 120 applications from law graduates. 

Maybe it's not the worst ever, but it's bad.

Anybody who denies that it's bad just isn't looking around.

Interesting, but the book "Outliers" talks about one of the founding partners of Skadden Arps (I believe... memory might be faulty) whose father was also an attorney.  His father used to work for bare subsistance.  Like, if they needed money for milk, he wouldn't be able to eat lunch that day.

Not sure that this is worse, but it's freakin' horrible.  I feel bad for young folks who are coming out into this market.

legend

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 201
    • View Profile
    • legalmatch
Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2012, 06:12:35 PM »
In response to Jack's clerkship this is another theory I have another theory that could be wrong, but I am going to enter it into the MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS :) .

One thing I have noticed is that schools in small states I.E. Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, charge the same as schools in markets in California & New York. I am speculating the clerkship job was in a smaller state as 41,000 is pretty low.

In California or New York I imagine the salaries are just higher. Minimum wage in San Francisco is 10.24 http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/31/BA711MEVP1.DTL . While in Kansas it is 7.25. http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm. This means San Francisco minimum wage is about 30% higher.

If you compare that to a lawyer salary a 41,000 salary in Kansas 30% higher in California 71,000. I went to law school so my numbers might be slightly off, but this might be something to consider.

Creighton for example is 30k per year in tuition in Nebraska.

Southwestern is 36k per year in tuition in  California.

I am going to speculate that even if your stuck doing doc-review in L.A. you will be making 25-30 per hour.

In Nebraska it is possible for comparable work you would make $15 per hour, but your paying off essentially the same law school debt while making half as much.

This in-depth study was conducted by me in 2 minutes so it is probably not going to be published in a scientific journal anytime son, but it is possible there is some merit to this.

My main conclusion that salaries in big markets are  higher is true.  Then if you have a 100k student loan to pay off with Midwest salaries it will be much more difficult than if your in a large market like Cali or New York.

This may be an issue with recent law graduates not being able to pay off their debts. Granted there are many others, but I thought it was worth discussing.

jack24

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1050
    • View Profile
Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2012, 07:04:01 PM »
I think you make good points, but you also have to consider cost of living differences between the areas.


legend

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 201
    • View Profile
    • legalmatch
Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2012, 08:01:32 PM »
Certainly a factor, but many people in San Francisco, New York, L.A, live in the suburbs and commute reducing cost of living significantly and if that occurs and the salary remains the same it could certainly help. If you are paying 3,000 a month for a closet in Manhattan by theory is blown to bits.

So I could be way off base on the above theory, but I would be interested in seeing things like this taken into account by doom & gloom bloggers.

-I also think another factor people never consider when choosing law schools, employment, etc is that top professors, admins, and so on are people and they have lives outside of law school and care where they live. Therefore, if they could have a job at a Tier 3 like New York Law School they would probably take that opposed to working at a Tier 1 school like Oklahoma. I know even if Cravath opened a firm in Oklahoma and wanted me to work there I probably wouldn't go. I imagine the NYLS professors would have more connections in the legal market, etc, opposed to a professor who lives Norman, Oklahoma and because of geographic limitation can't meet people in New York firms and so on.

There are just so many factors in all these rankings, employment numbers, admission decisions, and so on that are never discussed. I always see Law School is Bad, I didn't get a job, life sucks, a lot of very conclusory statements that leave me wanting to ask these kinds of questions.

Everyone's situation is unique and I think anyone reading on this board or others needs to realize that.


Cher1300

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 126
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2012, 02:53:22 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.

I am currently part-time at night and my sole reason for working is to keep my debt as low as possible.  The same is true for many of the other part-timers at my school.  It really has nothing to do with being afraid to go all in and more to do with having 150K in debt.  I will cut my debt in half by working and saving and to be honest, one year more is really not much longer.  Most of the students have families and are older.  They are generally, (at least at my school), not young people just out of college. 

I think the main reason part-time law school wasn't done twenty years ago is because law school wasn't nearly as expensive as it is today.  Sure lawyers had debt, but I remember reading an article that talked about how the increase in ABA tuitions had more than doubled itself over a certain number years.  If I can find the article, then I'll post it.  Most of us plan on quitting our jobs after our second or third year to get experience as interns, etc.  Some of us already have jobs waiting for us when we graduate.   

A prosecutor came to speak at our school and discussed part-time versus full time.  It's not even something they consider on job applications.  They mainly look at grades, internships etc.   Although part-timers can't do internships traditionally, most of them can find internships through their legal departments at work, or if they quit their jobs their last year of school.  One of my professors suggested that to us.  He is a prosecutor in California, worked for the first three years, and did externships, etc. his last year before landing his job. 

Just wanted to clarify, because I think part-time is actually a smarter way to go than full-time.  Even if you work and can't afford to pay some of your tuition, you will still save on books and living expenses.   With less debt, a person has more options if they don't get a job in six months because they'll have less debt and some type of work experience - even if it's not necessarily legal experience.  While full-time has traditionally been the norm, I think part-time will become more and more popular as ABA schools become more expensive.  Fiscally, it seems to make more sense - at least to me.  :)

legend

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 201
    • View Profile
    • legalmatch
Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2012, 04:04:09 PM »
I am in no way trying to diminish part-time school it does work for a lot of people, but I have met many people that do not end up going into the law, because they stayed at their prior job. It is pretty scary to leave a full-time secure job to start somewhere lower (as an attorney) and if you couldn't give up the job for school if you have been at your place of employment for four more years you have probably gained a higher status and it will be even harder to leave. Of course it happens, but I just think it is something to consider.

I am also just an anonymous internet poster so just because I know a few people that went through this doesn't mean it applies to everyone or even most people. It sounds like you have your personal reasons and each situation is unique. I simply wrote the part-time issue as something for potential law school part-timers to consider.

Good luck with law school!


Cher1300

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 126
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2012, 05:57:26 PM »
You are right - it is scary to leave your full-time job and people need to take that into consideration.  I have to admit that I'm a bit scared myself.  At the same time though, I can't imagine staying at my job with a law degree and some debt.   With the recession as it is, there are very little raises for most companies these days.  My company gave out small raises last year, but hadn't done so for four years prior and we had to endure pay cuts for almost two those four years.  Most of us were just grateful to have job so I can see why people would be afraid to leave.   

Thanks for the luck!  I'm sure I'll need some of that too.   ;)

SoCalLawGuy

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 99
    • View Profile
Re: 2011 Employment Prospects worst in 18 Years
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2012, 10:57:27 AM »
We live in difficult times and not everyone is lucky enough to find a job they would enjoy. Unemployment is high everywhere, not only in the law field.