Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Education and Lawyers

If you read Instapundit, you'll read about current topics and problems in education.  As Glenn Reynolds is a professor of law, he covers legal education pretty well.  However, a current article in the Atlantic talks about problems with law-school grads finding work.
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?

I remember when the one-person law office was the standard, and I don't see any reason why an attorney couldn't practice law out of his one-man office.

Or, am I missing something?


Anonymous said...

No you're not missing're just not factoring in the lazy attitudes that most grads have. They, the grads, are thinking that all they had to do was go to law school and the jobs with 6 figure incomes would come looking for them!
The country is awash with that attitude....the priviliged, exceptional, bright, "never won a game, but always got a participation ribbon" type protoplasm.
Your expectation of that type of spawn to go out and make a career for themselves?!!!?!? Unheard of!
My 65 year old brother in law tried to do the one man shop with that exceptional attitude (and my crazy sister by his side) he can barely make the payments on his house. Unfortunately his exceptionally bright and heli-coptered daughter followed in his footsteps...after 4 years she landed a job in a 3 man shop (I think one of the partners died).


Gaffer said...

Steve has it right when he says that today's youth have been pre-conditioned. As a group they expect success to be handed them and that working to a goal is alien.
There is hope since I am seeing more of the youngest generation willing to assume risk and work hard. The percentage is still small, but it's out there.