Saturday, September 5, 2015

Reversing the lawyer glut?

As the graph to the left indicates, law school applicants are at their long-time low, and are down 47 percent from their recent peak.  (The graph and a full report come courtesy of Paul Campos.)  This decline is due in large part to scam-blogs and even some mainstream media outlets that have exposed the staggering debt loads and limited job opportunities for new law grads.  This decline in applications is also great news for practicing lawyers, although it will likely take awhile for the existing oversupply of lawyers to start to correct itself.  Meanwhile, law profs are weighing in with their usual nonsense. 

Some profs are saying that law grad employment numbers have improved.  Yes, it’s true that the number of graduates obtaining full-time, long-term employment requiring a law license recently “jumped” from 57 percent to 60 percent.  But first, 60 percent is a miserable employment statistic.  And second, the number of law jobs is actually down; one reason the percentage increased to 60 percent is that there are now fewer new law grads chasing those jobs. 

Other profs are bemoaning the decrease in applicants because low- and middle-income citizens will not have enough lawyers to serve their legal needs.  Newsflash: there is currently a huge glut of under- and unemployed lawyers, yet low- and middle-income citizens are currently not having their legal needs met.  Why not?  Because these low- and middle-income citizens can’t afford to pay any money to lawyers.  So turning out more law grads wouldn’t change that fact; it would just create more unemployed and highly indebted lawyers (assuming, of course, they can pass the bar exam). 

But I predict that law profs will not give up on their spin.  Torture the numbers long enough, and finally they will confess. 

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