The number of LSAT takes is down 45% since 2009. It’s down 11% over last year. The bottom line is: people are not thinking becoming a lawyer or about law school in 2013.
This could be a combination of things, however the most likely is the dismal job market for lawyers that is currently plaguing recent graduates as they shoulder hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt.
While becoming a lawyer is still a staple profession in this country, the over-crowded and highly competitive pool of applicants for many top jobs in law has turned off a certain percentage (apparently about 45%) of people since the crash of 2009.
Its’ a bit more risky in today’s uncertain economy to drop a few hundred thousand dollars on law school and jump, with both feet, into an industry that is currently boasting an unemployment rate topping 12.8% this year (the highest since 1994).
With all this doom and gloom, one would except to sage advice to include warnings to steer clear of being a lawyer in the current market. Sage advice would be wrong. The old financial philosophy comes to mind in this situation; when others are selling, buy. When others are buying, sell. The markets move with the masses, and if you do as well, you will ultimately end up somewhere in the middle. If you want to rise to the top, you have to move counter to the masses. Let me explain.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Lawyer – The Secret Benefit
There are several steps to becoming a lawyer; the first, graduation, takes about three years of schooling. Someone starting law school in 2014 will graduate in 2017. In 2017, the market will have had time to adjust. 2012 actually saw the biggest increase in law jobs for quite some time. The problem is, the market was incredibly saturated by the high numbers of recent graduates. When did these graduates start? 2009.
If the trend continues, 2014 will show lower enrollment numbers than are historically normal. If the other trend continues, and more law jobs are created (let’s be honest – the law isn’t going away) that will create an opportunity for the class of 2017. It should lead to more demand than supply. As we all know from Economics 101, more demand than supply leads to rising prices. In this case, that could be a few things:
- Job placement
- Job satisfaction – options, working hours, location, etc.
Either way, the news is good if you are looking at becoming a lawyer. If, however, you wait for the market to turn around, everyone else will see the turn and get involved as well. While catching that on the front end may cause you to have a slight advantage, you will still be battling for jobs in years where more people are graduating than less. This little exercise in contrarianism is fun, however the decision is still a hard one. Signing on the dotted line for $200k in debt gambling on a future that isn’t certain is definitely harrowing.
That is, however, why it should work. There is always less competition in the riskier plays than in the safe ones. If you have always wondered how to become an attorney, now would be a good time to check it out! Good luck!
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