The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 23, 2007
The Dark Side of the Legal Job Market
Posted by Amir Efrati
According to this story in today’s Wall Street Journal, prospects have never been better for graduates from elite law schools and those at the top of their classes in 2nd tier schools; but the majority of JD’s are taking the brunt of economic trends that have conspired to suppress pay and job growth. The result is that average graduates must struggle to find work; often taking positions doing repetitive tasks such as document review for as little as $20 an hour, sans benefits.
The thing is this piece could just as well have been written when I graduated in the mid-90’s. How little things have changed … So I ask you, does this mean that the media is slow to catch on to our plight, or that our industry has been (and remains) in denial because law schools make too much money to let the myth of the ‘rich’ lawyer die, or is it that the problem is just too chronic to go away? As Peter, the main character in Office Space, noted; “Every day of my life is worse than the day before. So every day is the worst day of my life.” And there you have the profession in a nutshell. Lawyers from the 50’s report doing better than those from the 60’s and 70’s, who did better than those from my generation and so on. And if you follow the logic in the article, this year’s graduates are entering the worst market in history. That’s not my opinion; look at the statistics in the article laid out in these eye-catching charts(the series is presented online using Flash).