Is Going to Law School Still Worth the Cost?

Is Going to Law School Still Worth the Cost?

Attending law school is generally believed to be a very wise investment. While the experience itself can be extremely costly, students are generally able to pay off their loans because of the lucrativeness of their career. Furthermore, it is argued that the lessons one learns in law school are invaluable, because they change the way one thinks and sees the world. However, several articles have been published in major media outlets since the onset of the recent economic depression that depict a different story. Lawyers are not immune to the high unemployment rate, and many are finding that they are unable to earn enough money to pay off their loans.

Two recently published articles depict the effects of the unemployment rate on those who have chosen law as a career route. Both articles come to the conclusion that aiming to become a lawyer may no longer be the investment it once was, and applying to law school might not be the wisest choice. An article on titled “A Case of Supply v. Demand” depicts the gloomy situation for recent graduates, who face too much competition for too few jobs. The article cites Richard Matasar, the dean of New York Law School, who claims that students “cannot earn enough income after graduation to support the debt they incur.” The article concludes that the situation will only be resolved if fewer students attend law school, which ultimately will help supply to meet demand.

Similarly, The New York Times’ “Is Law School a Losing Game?” addresses the contradiction that, while many reports show the bleak job market for new lawyers, law schools continue to claim that their graduates have no problem finding work. The article describes that this contradiction occurs because these schools are not only including jobs that are specifically law-oriented in their statistics, but rather, they are including any type of employment. According to the article, this could include “waiting tables at Applebees” or “stocking aisles at Home Depot.” Clearly, these jobs make it nearly impossible for students to pay back the hefty loans they have incurred after attending law school.

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These and other similar articles beg the question: if law school is an unreliable investment for recent college graduates, then what is left to do? Is medical school the only other equally prestigious option? Or is the world changing and our studies should change to meet the new economic setting? What are other ways to wisely invest one’s time after graduating college? What do you think?