Sunday, October 24, 2010

Despite grim employment prospects, applicants still want to come to law school

Forget what I said the other day about law schools' moral imperative to give applicants the straight scoop on average starting salaries and the burden of student loan debt - they want to come anyway.  That's the finding of a recent survey conducted by Veritas, a law school application consulting firm targeting would-be students.  As reported in the National Law Journal:

Veritas . . .  polled 112 prospective law school applicants in June and July, and 81% said they would still apply even if "a significant number of law school graduates were unable to find jobs in their desired fields." Only 4% said they would not apply to law school under that circumstance.

At the same time, more than half the survey respondents — 63% — were concerned about finding a job after law school, and 70% said they were worried about finding a position in the field of their particular interest.

"I think there could be one of two things that are leading factors in explaining this paradox," said Veritas Chief Executive Officer Chad Troutwine. "It could be the idea that there is still a perceived value in the legal education one gets law school. That's different from why people go to business school, which is to increase their chance of financial success."

Alternatively, prospective law students could be suffering from that well-known American affliction of overconfidence — "Hey, that's somebody else's problem, not mine," he said.

Many people still take-up smoking despite the well-documented risks.  Maybe law school is the same sort of thing - you can warn people about the associated financial risks but they'll come anyway.  Law school does indeed provide a great education - just make sure you apply with your eyes open and have realistic expectations.

You can read the full NLJ coverage here - as far as I can tell, the Veritas survey is not available for free.


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