Those of you seeking to enter law school under the impression that the confines of a classroom beat competing in a dismal job market may want to revisit that idea.
The University of Miami Law School has offered 1L law students the opportunity to defer their admission for a year. The feelings of the law school’s dean, Patricia White, are clear in her message to incoming students: Law school is not the place to duck HR.
Indeed, in a letter passed around to the incoming class of 2012, White pretty much conveyed those thoughts, saying:
“While I would like to believe that this year's elevated acceptance rate reflects the great sense of excitement about the Law School and its future that led me to become its new Dean, I fear that some of it may be related to the shortage of jobs in the current economy. Perhaps many of you are looking to law school as a safe harbor in which you can wait out the current economic storm.
If this describes your motivation for going to law school I urge you to think hard about your plans and to consider deferring enrollment. Law school requires an enormous investment of work, energy, time, and money. It is very demanding intellectually and emotionally. Beyond this, in these uncertain and challenging times the nature of the legal profession is in great flux. It is very difficult to predict what the employment landscape for young lawyers will be in May 2012 and thereafter.”
Wise of her to point how much a financial investment law school is. Is a three year dodge of the job market worth possibly going into six-figure debt over? In a field that has seen massive layoffs for over a year, no less.
The recession has forced many big law firms across the country to downsize.
The New York Times reports that as of June 14, nearly 5,000 lawyers had been cut by major law firms since January 2008. That translates into about 300 attorneys being laid off per month – the approximate size of many law school graduating classes.
In addition to layoffs, firms have enacting salary freezes or cuts and significant reductions in law school recruiting.
Those of you thinking spending a few years reading legal briefs may want take a step back and reevaluate before spending countless hours preparing for the LSAT.
If you're truly interested in a law career, keep in mind that some states like California don’t require you to go to law school to become a lawyer.
For those who only recently envisioned themselves as an attorney, I would say that there’s always stripping, but even that industry is starting to suffer, too.
Any law school students or laid off attorneys ready to chime in? Leave your feedback below or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.