According to a survey by the NALP, the median salary for 2011 law school graduates has dropped 5% from 2010 and 17% from 2009, and starting private practice salaries have fallen 35% in three years. The study, which is rapidly being citied by 22-year-olds as the reason why they haven't opened that LSAT prep book that has been sitting on the kitchen counter of their parents' house for six weeks, notes that the median salary for 2011 law grads was $60,000, well below the amount that scientists believe is necessary to cope with the mental anguish of having attended law school.

"Obviously these statistics paint a pretty dismal picture," NALP executive director James Leipold said, presumably as he propped his heels upon the desk that he works at in his office inside the building where he's gainfully employed. "Nearly all of the drop can be attributed to the continued erosion of private practice opportunities at the largest law firms." Last month an ABA survey showed that only 55% of the 2011 graduates got full-time, long-term jobs using their legal degree.

There is hope: median government salaries remained unchanged from 2009 at $52,000, although gym memberships and cucumber mojitos can't be purchased with "efficacy" or "satisfaction." And 24.6% of 2011 grads were looking for jobs out of the legal field altogether, presumably as high school counselors that advise students to study dead languages or the Transformers series as it applies to heteronomative trends at the turn of the century, or anything more useful than a law degree.

“In many ways, the class of 2011 bore the worst brunt of the impact of the recession on the entry-level legal job market, particularly in the large firm market," Leipold adds. However, most law school libraries remain air conditioned, and we're pretty sure you can sleep in the products liability section if you arrive after 9 p.m.