Too many law schools
January 12, 2010 Leave a comment
Given that I just finished writing my 3rd law school recommendation of the week, it seems like a perfect time to link to Matt Yglesias' post about too many law schools and lawyers:
As Daniel Luzer writes for The Washington Monthly we just seem to be producing more law school graduates than there’s any really robust demand for:
The basic problem is that people rack up an average
$92,000 in debt (for private law schools) because of the implied
promise of a high-paying job at the end. Except that industry
predications indicate that there are likely to be less than 30,000
legal jobs available per year. Some 45,000 people graduate from law
school every year.
I wonder how many of those law students I have recommended will be surprised to find themselves in the lower mode of the distribution. Quite a few, I suspect. What's a shame I think is that a lot of these people (and our nation) would be better served by them going into more productive careers rather than competing against the over-supply of average attorneys. I've long believed (and had confirmed in many a discussion) that a law degree is way over-valued. For the vast majority of lawyers it is simply a skill that comes with amassing knowledge of a very precise body of knowledge. My favorite law-degreed friend compares it to being a plumber, though I think an accountant may be more apt. Anyway, although I think that certainly many lawyers serve very useful social purposes, there's doubtless an over-supply and we'd be much better off as a nation without that overs-supply (and I'd be happier writing fewer law school recommendations).