Friday, April 23, 2010
We are so very close to the end here. The babe's last final is today, and I have one more next Friday - pass/fail, though, so I'm feeling pretty relaxed about it.
As we spend our final days in law school, there's much talk of jobs - who has one, who doesn't, who has decided to forgo legal employment entirely. I feel very very lucky to have a legal job for the coming year (even if I don't know the actual date I will begin), but so many of my friends do not have jobs and are struggling with the fact that everything after the bar seems to be a complete unknown.
When the law school rankings came out last week, the babe and I were shocked by the employment numbers. With the financial meltdown and rampant layoffs and deferred hiring and law firm closings of last year, we were shocked to see such high employment numbers. Something just seems...off. I don't know how the numbers are crunched, but I'm skeptical.
I was glad to read this article about two students who are creating a non-profit organization - and website - to address the lack of detailed, reliable employment information for legal students. I think what they're doing is so incredibly important. For most students, law school involves a huge amount of debt. In the past, many students have gone into law school under the assumption that they would leave with a "good-paying" job that would help them pay off that debt. Students choosing to enter law school now need to understand what their real chances are of finding employment and what types of employment are available and probable out there. Hopefully these numbers will help encourage more students to think carefully about the financial decision that they're making.
The recommendation that I see so often for students to go to the best school that they can get into isn't always the smart financial choice, particularly in a job market where there may not be a salary after graduation to pay off all that debt. Sometimes the smarter choice is to go to a lower-ranked school where they can get a scholarship, or go part-time and work, or it might even be to decide that law school actually isn't the best choice in the end.
I'm excited to see some people addressing the issue, and I'm hopeful for this new crop of would-be lawyers.