Monday, August 6, 2012

The Old Legal Profession Aint What It Used To Be - by Legal Pub

Once upon a time, lawyers made a lot of money and enjoyed the respect of society.  The nobility of the profession eroded away with the ambulance chasing image of advertising.  Now the financial rewards also appear to be dwindling. Three years ago Herwig Schlunk, a Vanderbilt law professor, used salary data to calculate the economic value of a law degree.  The findings were not pretty. Schlunk updated research hasn't changed his conclusion that going to law school doesn't make economic sense. 

"My overall assessment today is much the same as it was in 2009: Law school is a very risky (and expensive) investment; it should not be undertaken lightly," he wrote in "Mamas 2011: Is A Law Degree A Good Investment Today?"  Quite frankly, based on salary and job placement data that is  worse now than in 2009, its not hard to see why the opinion has not changed. Schlunk opines that a "Hot Prospect," who attends a top-tier law school, has an 25 percent chance to get a job at a large  firm.  A. "Solid Performer," who does relatively well at a second-tier school, has an 8 percent shot of a good job.  An average student at a third-tier private law school, has a 5 percent chance of landing a good job.  In more simple terms, the opportunity cost of attending law school, including tuition and the wages those students would have earned had they entered the work force, ranged from $209,714 for to $252,441.  

The National Association of Law Placement suggests that the best-placed graduate won't earn enough to make his or her education a good investment. Only 31 percent of average students are likely to earn enough to justify the cost of attending law school. For most, law school is simply a bad investment. But for those of you future students who love to argue even when you are not getting paid, there is still a place for you in the next freshman class.

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