Howard B. Miller, President of the State Bar of California, wrote an important article called “Truth in lending and in careers.” Everybody who is considering going to law school should read the article. He discusses the terrible situation facing many recent law school graduates – huge student loan debts and no lawyer jobs or low paying lawyer jobs. Here are some points covered in the article:
“The economic impact of the great recession has been acute. For graduates in 2008, 2009 and this year, the combination of the number entering practice, the lack of jobs and the levels of debt are devastating personally to those involved and should be to all of us who care about our profession.”
“The average debt of law graduates now approaches or exceeds $100,000, and because of recent increases in tuition, especially at public institutions which historically have been more affordable, debt burdens will be even greater in a couple of years.”
“At least 10,000 lawyers, probably more, including many, many mid-level associates with no place to go, have been officially laid off during this recession. Many more have job offers with deferred entry dates, or are counted as “employed” while voluntarily interning for nothing, or are in temporary lawyer jobs reviewing documents for $15-$20 an hour, with no security and jobs that can disappear at any moment.”
“For the foreseeable future the starter jobs that provided traditional training for those lawyers are not coming back.”
“we need to be transparent with potential lawyers about the cost and benefits of studying law. All law schools need to gather, verify and report, in consistent and specified ways, the employment record of their graduates, as well report on those who may have started, paid tuition, but never graduated.”
See “$10 an Hour for a J.D.” Also, read about and listen to five recent graduates of Georgetown University law school interviewed by National Public Radio. Three of the five have lawyer jobs, although one job is deferred until January of 2012.