The legal gravy train has been delayed

From Roll on Friday 14/03/12:

Ah to be a lawyer in America. Who doesn't watch Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, errr, Shark and dream of a snazzy corner office, sexy cases, fervent closing submissions (complete with fist waving and authoritative pacing) and a f*ck off penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park? 

But it seems the American dream might not be all that for young wannabe lawyers. An already over-saturated legal market, combined with stuffed to the brim sausage factory law schools is making for a pretty unhappy situation. And given this is America - it's litigation time. 

Attorney Jesse Strauss is taking on 14 (mostly mid-tier) law schools on behalf of unemployed graduates, accusing them of "misrepresenting" employment statistics to encourage students to shoulder mountains of debt in the naive hope of gainful employ in the legal sector.

Employment stats have always struck me as something of an inexact science. Even assuming they’re accurate, they are still relatively meaningless when used by a single person to assess their chances of landing a job. A minor pointer, perhaps, when choosing a career and a particular university, but nothing more. So, when it goes belly up and you realise (several years after you should have) that things are dire out there and law firms aren’t recruiting like they once did, it’s time to sure you law school.  Really? 

Suppose you’re genetically predisposed to absolutely bombing at interview and that’s the real reason why you’re stuck in the dole queue? Is attempting to sue your parents going to fix that at all?

Surely everyone recognises the risks, going into it? University is a gamble with no cast iron guarantees. For an awful lot of people (if they play their cards right) it pays off nicely. But not everyone can be winners. As Kimi Raikkonen would say: “it is what it is”.

legal gravy train

It always amuses me how much fuss Alumni magazines make about just how great their graduates’ employment stats are. Well, it’s super that 90% of the cohort is in employment. It’s just a pity that 95% of that figure are employed on a part-time basis flipping burgers and barfing in the French fries at your favour fast-food outlet.

And just in case anyone was in any doubt about the situation:

[A]ccording to the Law Society figures from April last year, there were 14,510 LPC places available in 2009/10 but only 4,874 training contracts registered. And [what’s more] the number law school places continues to rise (it's estimated by 5% in 2011/12) and CoL's apocalyptic forecasts of a shortfall of trainees continues to be manifestly unfulfilled[.]

I’d start preparing the noose now…

Be right back


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