August 3, 2012
Friday Fun: A Career Lesson in Practicing Law or Good Luck Newbie 1Ls
Welcome to the rest of your life incoming 1Ls assuming you decide to stick it out, pass the bar and end up being lucky enough to find some sort of gainful employment to pay off your loan debts for college and law school. Right about now, law school deans are trying to figure out how to welcome you to law school. All the "noble profession" stuff that is fodder for their "glad you are here" speech while slipping in a cautionary note about the dismal labor market that will end with "our placement staff is here to help you." In the past, that meant "if you are in the top 10% of your graduating class." For the last several years, recent grads who made the grade and have law review on their resumes, aren't assured employment.
If your dean says "the employment outlook will be better in three years when you graduate," for newbie lawyers he or she doesn't know shit. Any upturn in the labor market will most likely mean experienced lawyers who had been laid off will be contenders for reemployment.
If you happen to be attending Rutgers Camden, you might want to read Dean Solomon's recent message to the Reuters community at Law School Dean Takes On ‘The Blogs’ But He Doesn’t Have The Facts On His Side ahead of the traditional welcome ceremony for 1Ls. Reuters placement stats can be misleading and the school has been reporting the indebtedness of just one year of a Rutgers Law education, instead of the debt students graduate with after three years of law school. The law school’s commitment to accuracy is questionable. ATL's Elie Mystal writes:
Truth and transparency are not hard standards to meet. Instead of looking for ways to manipulate the meanings of “employed” and “indebtedness,” the school could just stand on its record. At the very least, producing stats that aren’t misleading to applicants and making statements that don’t strain credulity would keep the school out of “the blogs.”
Study law, if you want, because it is an interesting intellectual exercise in the Humanities and Social Sciences as it is still being taught by and large in the legal academy but be prepared for employment in the service industry, and I don't mean legal services.
The below video comes from the 2007 NYU Law Revue when the legal labor market was, well, ... "better". [JH]