Photo: Above The Law
There are plenty of reasons not to go to law school.There are about twice as many law school grads as there are jobs for lawyers. At least some grads can expect to work at a minimum wage job rather than in a BigLaw firm, and it looks like even partners’ jobs aren’t totally secure this year.
But, if you choose not to go to law school, what else are you really going to do with your life?
Above The Law’s David Lat explores that question after reading parts of Professor Paul Campos’ new book Don’t Go To Law School (Unless).
In the book, an unnamed law student writes:
[Prospective law students] think: debt doesn’t matter. There is no penalty for defaulting on the debt, except the relinquishment of the privileges of an advanced financial life. . . Students evaluating the horrible deal in question believe they have no access anyway to those privileges (e.g. a retirement account, a home purchase, a start-up business). For the student in question, all law school has to do is provide some potential benefit, and it becomes a rational choice.
And while Campos tries to refute the notion that some potential benefit outweighs all of the depressing statistics, Lat takes a different view.
“After all, what else are you going to do with yourself? Before you criticise law schools and those who matriculate at them, please familiarise yourself with the grim economic realities of 20-first century America….” Lat writes for ATL.
He argues that overall unemployment in the country for people under 25 could be as high as 54 per cent, and even business school isn’t a safe option anymore as MBA students struggle to find a job.
And if you decide to go out into the world with just a liberal arts undergrad degree, you’re essentially resigning yourself to a life of low pay and a dismal job market.
“In light of the diminishing career opportunities for, well, almost everyone — everyone from unskilled labour to graduates of professional schools, including B-school — is it really that irrational to go to law school?” Lat asks.
While we have often written about the financial perils of attending law school, Lat does seem to have a point.
The job market is terrible everywhere, but there is always a chance the legal industry could recover. So why not roll the dice and go to law school if it’s what you really want to do?
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.