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Sunday, April 1, 2012
Outlook Getting Bleaker for Law Students
More specifically, the outlook is bleaker for law school graduates. The first of a series of class-action suits filed by law school graduates against their former alma maters was dismissed this week by the New York State Supreme Court. While the justice authoring the opinion was not unsympathetic to the plight of law school graduates in a bleak job market, he concluded that law students should be smart enough to know better. Even if schools misrepresented their post-graduate employment data, the average law student should have both the initiative and the intellect to understand that no degree can promise employment.
Lawsuits such as these are drawing attention to a dismal job market for lawyers. The economic downturn has taken a toll on almost everyone, but law students faced with six-figure student loan debt are positively panicked. While prospects for law school graduates may not yet be improving, word of the troubled market has certainly leaked.
This week, the Law School Admission Council reported that the number of LSAT takers has decreased by 25% over the past two years, and by 16% for the 2011-2012 year alone. It appears that hopeful law school students are finally recognizing that a law degree no longer carries the value and prestige of years gone past.
For the eternal optimists out there, this downturn in law school applications could mean one thing for those still choosing to apply to law school. Better odds of admission. Unlike the world of undergraduate admissions, where each year the applicant pools increase by tens of thousands, this decrease in competition could work well for some.
Perhaps the face of the legal profession is experiencing permanent changes. Perhaps hopeful law students simply need to wait awhile for the recession to recede. Whatever the future holds, these are changes of which all law student hopefuls should take heed.
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