There was a time that graduating from law school meant that you had a fairly sure shot of landing gainful employment as an attorney. No longer. Since the recession, the fraction of new J.D.s finding a full-time job requiring a state bar license withered from roughly 74 percent down to less than 60 percent. That tumble is depicted in the chart below, which compares how the classes of 2007 and 2011 fared on the job market, based on data compiled by the National Association for Legal Placement.I've got a degree in Business Administration, but that doesn't mean that I've ever worked in retail. No, my degree was more a vehicle to a commission in the Army, and my graduate work was done to get the most value out of the GI Bill. However, I understand the problem with folks who get an education and are unable to find employment in their field. If you're an Art History major, or an English major, you might not be able to find employment in your field. There is an old joke that went around when I was an undergrad. "What phrase does a psychology major use most during his first job? Would you like fries with that?"
These days, STEM degrees are the most marketable, but not everyone wants to study STEM. However, we can assume that law-school grads are fairly intelligent and that they know how to do research. Assuming that they pass the bar exam, they're licensed to practice law. So, the question becomes; Why don't those folks who can't find jobs, simply hang a shingle and start practicing law?
Or, am I missing something?