"For graduates of elite law schools, prospects have never been better. But the majority of law-school graduates are suffering from long-term economic trends are suppressing pay and job growth. The result: Graduates who don’t score at the top of their class are struggling to find well-paying jobs to make payments on law-school debts that can top $100,000. Some are taking temporary contract work, reviewing documents for as little as $20 an hour, without benefits. And many are blaming their law schools for failing to warn them about the dark side of the job market.
That’s the subject of a page-one story in the Journal Monday. The story includes lots of data and real-life examples showing how life outside BigLaw has gotten tougher, and how some law schools are doing their best not to let the word out. The 2,300-word story even has a shout-out to the infamous Loyola 2L, who has been beating a drum of discontent about the legal market around the legal blogosphere.
The culprit appears to be, in part, a slack in demand: Growth in legal sector has lagged the broader economy since the late 1980s. At the same time, more lawyers are entering the work force with greater and greater amounts of debt, thanks to hefty tuition hikes. The story cites surveys and government data showing wage stagnation for lawyers across the nation.
The only employment data that many prospective law students see come from school-promoted surveys that provide a far-from-complete portrait of graduate experiences. For example, Tulane University (pictured) reports that its law-school graduates entering the job market in 2005 had a median salary of $135,000. But that is based on a survey that only 24% of that year’s graduates completed, and those who did so likely represent the cream of the class, a Tulane official conceded.
Some law-school academics are calling for the distribution of more-accurate employment information. “Prospective students need solid comparative data on employment outcomes, [but] very few law schools provide such data,” says Andrew Morriss, a law professor at the University of Illinois who has studied the market for new lawyers."
Article here - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119040786780835602.html