Despite the Bad Economy, Law Students Remain Optimistic

Despite the Bad Economy, Law Students Remain Optimistic

03/3/2011

According to Forbes Magazine, approximately $100,000 in student loans is owed by the average law school graduate.

This figure may appear daunting in a vibrant economy. However, in period when the national unemployment rate is almost 10%, this huge figure becomes really scary.

According to a poll conducted by the National Association for Law Placement, the employment rate of the law class of 2009 is greater than 88%.

In an interview with the New York Times, law professor William Henderson and Val Nolan, a faculty fellow at the Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, described the results as an “Enron-type accounting.”

The New York Times article mentioned that law schools are ranked “based entirely on unaudited surveys conducted by each law school, using questions devised by the American Bar Association and the National Association for Law Placement.”

According to Henderson, because employment statistics figure into the ranking system and since that system is without oversight, it pays for law schools to utilize disreputable numbers. This means that employment statistics on the website of a law school might actually not match reality.

Henderson said, “Bar passage is about 84 percent, employed at nine months about 93 percent. Anybody can do the math and will realize that there exists a bunch of people who are employed who haven’t passed the bar yet.”

He also said that when a prospective student is making a decision whether to attend law school, it is important that schools should represent their employment numbers accurately.

Job placement numbers are not the deciding factor though for some law school students. According to Noah Pinegar, IU Maurer School of Law class of 2010, “In settling on IU, I saw a place where I could focus and a school with a strong alumni base in D.C.”

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com