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Monday, May 6, 2013
Buying a Law School Education in a Down Market
The last several years haven't been kind to the U.S. economy. There aren't enough jobs. There isn't enough money. People have lost their homes. The housing market, in particular, has become emblematic of the corruption and loss that has marred the economic climate in recent years.
And while there is no way to take the sting out of loss, there is, the oft-quoted idea that, where there is crisis, there is also opportunity.
People know this and act on it. Always wanted to buy a home? The last few years have been a buyer's market. There's no better time to buy then when a market has tanked. But therein lies the irony. Most people in a tanking economy don't have money to buy things, even if they are cheaper than normal.
Is it tactless to stretch this metaphor into the law school downturn? Perhaps, but there are some similarities.
Law schools are experiencing the lowest applicant pool in over thirty years. (Even that statistic doesn't bear out because thirty years ago there were fewer law schools).
The job market for lawyers is dismal. Generally speaking. There will always be some need for lawyers. It's just that the market became saturated. So people have finally stopped looking at law school as an option.
Bad news? Maybe not, if you still want to be a lawyer. Maybe you're passionate about it. Maybe you're optimistic that there's a job out there with your name on it. Whatever your motivation-there's no time like the present.
As the applicant pool shrinks, the opportunity for acceptance increases. Some law schools are getting creative in a bid to woo students. Some are changing curriculum, adding clinical courses in an effort to better prepare students for the actual practice of law. Scholarship opportunities may be improving.
Whatever the downside, there may also be a silver lining, that might actually be worth the risk.
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