53,508 > 26,239

First number is Americans who passed the bar in 2009.  Second number is the number of job openings for lawyers.  No further commentary necessary.  (Via Economix)

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

4 Responses to 53,508 > 26,239

  1. Damon James Circosta says:

    As one of the many folks who possess a law degree and does something else, I say more commentary is needed. Do we send too many sharp minds to law school? maybe. Does a legal education really prepare you for anything but being a lawyer? I don’t know (the jury is still out, but I will say that in terms of practicality it beats a garduate degree in poli sci). Do I regret going? Not at all. Lucky for me, the state of Arizona (yes, that ARI-I-ZONA) valued my education enough where I could go to law school, come out with a reasonable amount of debt, and go to work doing something other than billing clients 200 an hour to tell them things they can find on the internet. Everyday I use that degree to think through ways in which we can improve our laws, specifically our election laws. My job description does not require a law degree and I am the first person in my org to have one.

    I tell all the kids who want to go to law school (and most of the interns that end up here eventually want to go) “Find a way to do it cheap, and it will be very rewarding.”

  2. I thought it was the number of times you’ve blogged on this topic! Who are you trying to convince not to go to law school?

  3. Mike Barr says:

    I tend to agree with Damon. I did not go to law school, but my sister did back in 1996. Two children and a new state later she decided to try to pass the Colorado bar. She passed the 2nd time around (this year). So she may be counted in that number. But I can assure you she is not looking for a lawyering job. More generally, a JD is a useful credential, probably more than many MAs. I think this is another example of the credential inflation that is rampant in the US. A non-technical BA is simply not enough to set you apart from the masses.

  4. Seth says:

    Some comparisons would be useful. How many medical school graduates passed their boards vs. the number of jobs for physicians? How many people got PhDs last year vs. the number of open positions? There may be an asymmetry here, but I’m not sure the legal profession is more out of whack than others.

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