Is anyone in 2012 thinking about going to law school? Still nurturing dreams of flying to Geneva to prosecute war crimes after helping Aunt Daisy with her property dispute and shouting at an oil executive while holding a dead whooping crane dripping with crude as the judge shouts "THIS IS HIGHLY UNORTHODOX COUNSELOR"? Well unless you're going to a top 14 law school you might as well adopt a more attainable and lucrative dream, like running a for-profit university. An ABA survey shows that only 55% of 2011 law grads actually had full-time, long-term jobs that required them to use the thing they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on.
The results of the ABA's survey (first reported by the Wall Street Journal) come after the association reluctantly agreed to ask their graduates if their jobs required an actual law degree, as opposed to "Do you have an actual job? Good. See? The system works." Graduates were asked nine months after graduation if they had obtained a job that requires a law degree, or a job that is helpful to have a law degree for,
and if they sob those deep, heaving sobs at night or just swallow the pain for an ulcer later..
According to the WSJ "more than 20 schools reported that fewer than 40% of their graduates had secured" a job that required a law degree. Whittier College reported 17%. "We consider this a problem," Whittier's law school dean Penelope Bryan says, describing what happens when you don't hire enough professors or when you drink too much, not when the trade school you represent is empirically proven to be worthless. "We have redesigned completely our career development and we expect to see some improvement, but in the meantime we've had to live with this transition." Read: "Everything we've been doing is wrong but keep giving us $40K a year, we'll figure it out."
Thomas Jefferson School of Law's dean Rudy Hasl is still optimistic about his school's rate of 27% employment in the legal profession. "You can't measure the value of a law degree in terms of what your employment number was nine months after graduation," Hasl says, presumably alluding to the major advances in cryogenics which will allow recent graduates to freeze themselves for a time when people will need a shitload of lawyers. "The law degree is something that allows you to move in so many directions." Move anywhere... except in the direction of a job that requires a law degree.