As 2013 comes to a close, I am happy to note that it has been a productive year, both for me personally and for the anti-law school movement. Law school enrollment has dropped to an all time low. And as a consequence, most of the shittier schools have cut their hiring and have downsized dramatically. There is even talk about some unprofitable law schools possibly closing their doors for good in the next few years.
But the salesmen of the law school empire are going to the press telling everyone that now is the best time to go. Why? Because admission standards are down, enrollment (i.e. your competition) is down, tuition is decreasing, older attorneys are retiring, and the economy is improving.
So if enroll within the next 30 minutes, you will be accepted to several schools of your choice for the low price of $19,995 plus books and board. But there’s more! As a bonus, after three years, you have a good chance* of getting a cushy biglaw gig making $160,000 per year which will place you in the elite social circle while your unambitious co-workers are stuck working retail. But act now because this offer expires soon.
* DISCLAIMER: When we say good chance, what we really mean is that your chances of working at a reputable firm with a high salary will slightly increase over our traditional placement rates. We do not guarantee that you will get a biglaw job nor even guarantee that law school will result in a better quality of life. It is up to you to do you own damn research and you agree not to sue us if something goes wrong.
Dumbasses have a better chance of getting accepted to law school. It’s common news that most schools are planning to admit students who wouldn’t have been considered for admission a few years ago.
This is analogous to a former not-so-attractive love interest who rejected you in the past but is now crawling back to you after getting a ton of extra wrinkles and gaining 40 extra pounds in the wrong places. And everybody knows that he/she infected at least 70 former lovers and three-year-stands with two sexually transmitted diseases which require long term medical treatment (for our purposes, we’ll call these STDs Low Job Prospects and Nearly Nondischargeable Student Loan Debt). On top of that, he/she now has a reputation for being a golddigger, a slut/gigolo, and a compulsive liar.
So even if you are being stroked by several salesmen begging you to go to their school, keep in mind that their tuition discount offers may have a ton of conditions. And the discounts may be lost after the first year if you do not do better than your classmates who received the same discounts. Also, employers and recruiters know about the brain drain and they are more likely to look to hire an experienced grad as opposed to a dumber newbie.
The Class of 2008 – 2013 have been ripped off. Even though you received “merit scholarship” offers from several schools, you are not someone special. You are not being recruited because you volunteered at legal aid during college or you were the student body 5th vice president of external social activities chair. They want your student loan money because if the school does not meet their revenue goals, eventually the faculty will have to take a pay cut and work longer hours. If that happens, the lawprofs will sue the school arguing that a pay cut is a backhanded method of chilling “academic freedom” (I personally think this is a move to get bigger severance pay if a law school’s closure is certain).
Five schools have already announced across the board tuition reductions. Over the next few years, we’ll see an increasing number of schools openly cutting tuition. So if you wait, then it is very likely that you will get a bigger tuition discount.
I kinda feel sorry for the people who paid full freight to shit-tier and some top-tier schools in the last five years. These people got ripped off because they overpaid for their education regardless of their post-graduate outcomes. In particular, those who are unemployed or working at a warehouse must be mad to the point of wanting to beat the living shit out of someone and I wouldn’t blame them. These lost souls would have a good case for suing their schools for a partial tuition reimbursement or reducing their debt load through bankruptcy.
Older attorneys will be forced out. I laugh whenever I hear about boomer-era attorneys threatening to retire in droves. I have seen older attorneys practice until their nineties in their wheelchairs. This is not a job that has a short shelf life. Also, some boomers have made some stupid life decisions which is forcing them to work longer even though they do not want to.
Whenever I hear about an older attorney “retiring”, in some, if not most cases, it is not voluntary. I automatically look at the state bar disciplinary reports to see if she got disbarred for a trust account violation. If this is the case, a number of their clients have been screwed by this prick and will be reluctant to hire another attorney or will not have the money to retain a new one. Also, she may have suffered a health condition which required her to reduce or shut down her practice. Rarely does an attorney leave at the top of her game.
And even if an attorney retires, that does not mean that a her clients will be available to new lawyers. Most middle class people see a lawyer for high paying, serious issues once or maybe twice in their entire lives. And thanks to new technology, people will go elsewhere to meet their smaller legal needs.
The economy may be improving but it will not benefit YOU. The economy is or isn’t improving depending on who you listen to. But most agree that demand for legal services will decrease while being cautious about mentioning whether demand will increase.
There have been a number of “studies” and predictions that the legal job market will improve anywhere between 2016 and 2021. Most of these studies are done by law professors of low ranked or mid ranked schools with dismal to pathetic employment outcomes. And they also use wild, unpredictable assumptions about the decrease in law school enrollment and increase in legal employment demand. And that’s right – people working in low-end jobs, euphemistically known as JD Advantage jobs also count as employment. So most of these studies look less like fact-based research and more like a verbose sales pitch from a
con artist authority figure designed to bring in the stupid and the irrationally idealistic.
Assuming that enrollment is down to the point where the number of graduates meet the number of entry level jobs, what about those who are underemployed or have been out in the cold for previous years? They too will re-enter the job market. So it will take several years after this so called “equilibrium” is reached before the employment problem is corrected.
So is now the best time to apply to law school? I say NO despite all the sales pitches. Wait and use that time to increase your GPA/LSAT score, gain work experience and figure out alternative ways to make money and “pursue justice”. Don’t worry – law schools won’t go anywhere anytime soon. In fact, they will be reducing tuition even further in the years to come.