Trendspotters are reporting that there are fewer and fewer “real” lawyer jobs available these days, and that law schools seem to have caught on. They’re voluntarily shrinking the numbers of incoming classes, and the law community couldn’t be happier.
Elie Mystal, of Above The Law, is breathing a sigh of relief over this development. “I guess there are only so many disgruntled, unemployed graduates these schools want walking around griping about their legal education (or suing them over it)….” Mystal notes.
(The suit refers to a class action that was filed against the Thomas Jefferson School of Law by a 2008 honors student. The student alleged fraud, by “using misleading post-graduation employment and salary data to attract new students.” See below for link to the ATL story.)
Mystal is adamant that the ABA should consider doing something about suppressing the number of new attorneys flooding the marketplace. There will always be jobs for those willing to work for very little to protect those who can’t afford legal representation, Mystal notes but “…the last thing current attorneys need is even more law school graduates competing for the few paid positions available.”
The author suggests something akin to an Americorps program to keep numbers reasonable. In addition, there ought to be monitoring by the ABA to keep lawyers competing in the private market around demand levels.
Albany Law and Touro started the class-reduction trend back in March and the latest school to decrease its class size is Creighton University School of Law in Nebraska. The school advised that it was doing so “on moral grounds” as many graduates were finding that a newly minted diploma didn’t guarantee lucrative employment. “Although demand for a Creighton legal education remains high … we feel a moral obligation to admit fewer students until employment prospects for new attorneys improve,” Dean Marianne Culhane wrote in a letter to alumni.
Western New England University School of Law is also planning on voluntarily reducing their first year class size. Dean Art Gaudio was quoted as saying: “At least for the short term, the need for lawyers is down, and the faculty here is taking a proactive stance on this,” he said. “We’re going to reduce the number of people we’re admitting, at least for now, and the reason is what’s happening on the demand side. Why should we put out lawyers who can’t get jobs?”