M O N E Y B O X
A Case of
Supply v. Demand
Law schools are manufacturing more lawyers than America needs, and law students
aren't happy about it.
By Annie Lowrey
Posted Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010, at 4:14 PM ET
During the recession, the logic was ubiquitous:
The economy is terrible—better to
wait it out! It is a three-year fast track to a remunerative, respectable career! It's not
just learning a subject—it's learning how to think!
Law school, always the safe
choice, became a more popular choice. Between 2007 and 2009, the number of LSAT
20.5 percent. Law school applications increased in turn.
But now a number of recent or current law students are saying—or screaming—that
they made a mistake. They went to law school, they say, and now they're
underemployed or jobless, in debt, and three years older. And statistics show that the
evidence is more than anecdotal.
One Boston College Law School third-year—miraculously, still anonymous—begged
for his tuition back in exchange for a promise to drop out without a degree, in an
to his dean published earlier this month. "This will benefit both of us," he
argues. "On the one hand, I will be free to return to the teaching career I left to come
here. I'll be able to provide for my family without the crushing weight of my law
school loans. On the other hand, this will help BC Law go up in the rankings, since
you will not have to report my unemployment at graduation to US News. This will
present no loss to me, only gain: in today's job market, a J.D. seems to be more of a
liability than an asset."
He is one of dozens of law students who have gone public, very public, to chastise the
schools they elected to attend for leaving them older and poorer. One popular medium
is the "scam
than tuition-sucking diploma mills. (Sample blog title:
Shilling Me Softly.) The author of one popular, if histrionic, such blog