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Why You Should Think Twice About Remaining in Law (or Going to Law School)

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CEO Harrison Barnes published an article yesterday about the state of the legal hiring market, why many law students shouldn't be in law school, and why people should twice about going to law school.

Here is a link to the article:

Let me know what you think about this article.

The real issue with this type of article is that it doesn't take into account that the same logic applies to every other profession. Is it hard to start out as a lawyer? Yes. Does the person who pulls the longest hours and works the hardest succeed? Yes. If you lose a big client is it possible you will be find yourself without a lot of work to do? Yes. Do some lawyers feel disillusioned with their career choice? Yes.

However, you can write the same exact article about a Doctor, Businessman, CPA, Psychologist, Dentist, etc.

Harvard has a medical school, a business school, etc and graduates of Harvard Business School will have more opportunities than an MBA from Santa Clara. Are their doctors that are disllussioned and want more? Yes.

I don't think anything the article says is necessarily inaccurate, but the simple fact is you will run into the same issues no matter what profession you choose. Additionally, you can succeed from a lower ranked law school if you know what you are getting into.

If you go to Whitter Law School you are not going to become a partner at Cravath just the way it is, but can you be a D.A, City Attorney, Family Lawyer, Litigator, etc yes you can and there are numerous lawyers from Whitter and other "low-ranked" schools that are happily employed attorneys and plenty of other Whittier grads that are misreable or unemployed.

The simple fact of that matter is I could talk to anyone on the Ferry I am currently riding and I guarantee everyone of them will tell me they are overworked and underpaid. That is just human nature, but I can say I really enjoy my job as an attorney I don't make as much as I would like, but I am excited about work everyday because I knew what I was getting into.

Therefore, I think if someone really wants to be a lawyer and has realistic expectations it can be a great choice, but if anyone thinks getting a law degree leads to exorbitant riches and constant excitement they are mistaken. Every job has boring aspects to it and the life of a lawyer is no different than any other profession.

Maintain FL 350:
I agree with the above comments and would merely add that the often unrealistic expectations of law students and recent grads fuels an already bad job market.

Clearly, the legal job market is in relatively bad shape right now, and I don't think anyone would deny that. However, a newly minted lawyer who is willing to adapt to the market's needs and diversify his experience will stand a much better chance of success than one who is rigid regarding job requirements.

I personally know several recent grads of lower tier schools who have very successful solo practices or who have formed small firms. In terms of income and experience they're beating the pants off of their unemployed upper tier counterparts, who apparently would rather remain unemployed than handle a child custody modification.

Many of the law students and young lawyers I meet are entirely unrealistic and snobby about employment. Just peruse any of the innumerable forum posts referring to "sh*tlaw", and you'll see what I mean. They still seem to think that they "deserve" a high paying firm position or prestigious federal job simply because they got good grades or graduated from a Tier 1 school, and disdain the notion of working in a small family law office or handling DUIs.

Unfortunately for them the market has changed but their expectations haven't, and that's a recipe for disappointment. There are still jobs out there, but they aren't the jobs that many students feel they're entitled to.

The bottom line is that if you go to law school with your eyes wide open, and if you set realistic, achievable goals you are far less likely to be bitter and disillusioned.


Again I think that applies to quite literally every profession.

Plenty of recent college grads are unemployed and expect major salaries etc, but to building a career in any profession you have to pay your dues.

I strongly disagree with the above replies.  I graduated two years ago from a tier-1 school, did an externship with a federal judge, completed a certification in my desired field, volunteered to do pro-bono work, and still have not been able to find a real job.  Although its true that the job market for young professionals is generally weak, the legal job market is particularly bad.  Anyone thinking of going to law school now is a real fool.   


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