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Is There Always Room for ONE More Lawyer?

HeroicInvesting.comIf you’ve got anything at all on the mental ball, and maybe even fancy yourself good with words or analytical thinking, the idea of attending law school to boost your career path and salary might have crossed your mind. According to a recent New York Times article, this might be a bad idea. Basically it comes down to too many lawyers and not enough jobs, but here’s a further breakdown.

Law Schools Cooking the Numbers: It’s a tough world out there in the higher education community, with an especially fierce level of competition to get new students in the front door. Allegations have been made about law schools, in particular, fudging post-graduation employment numbers for graduates, in order to score more favorably on the US News & World Report best schools rankings. Maybe they are and maybe they aren’t, but the following point seems to be an inescapable reality.

Too Many Lawyers: With new law schools still blossoming across the landscape, lured by the fantasy of never-ending employment and high salaries, the truth is there aren’t enough jobs to go around right now. Many attorneys find themselves fresh out of law school, scraping to get by as a sole practitioner, since corporations aren’t hiring, and barely making enough to eat and pay off the student loans. Law schools appear divorced from the reality that there is such a thing as too many lawyers.

High Cost: The problem with too many lawyers and not enough jobs is fed by the fact that law school, any law school, is obscenely expensive. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), the average private law school in 2008 cost over $34,000 per year. Public law schools were cheaper, at around $17,000, but that’s still a chunk of change to pony up for what is essentially a dead labor market.

Even the ABA is beginning to make noises that law school might not make financial sense to attend. Their numbers show that a hefty percentage of graduates are stuck with six-figure student loan debt, and tend to change careers after about five years, especially when the financial benefits of a successful law career aren’t immediately forthcoming. There’s no other way to say it: the legal profession comes with a nice combination of high stress and long hours.

We’re not here to dissuade any budding policemen or other first responders from going after their true calling in the field of law, just make sure you think about it. Really think about it.

The Heroic Investing Team

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