California Labor and Employment Defense Blog

Law School Enrollments Continue to Plunge

 Conventional wisdom is that legal costs are consuming an ever-greater portion of the economy each year as Americans supposedly grow more litigious over time. But that view apparently isn't shared by prospective lawyers, who are staying away from law school in droves.

Indeed, the New York Times reports that new law school enrollment in 2014 fell to the lowest level since 1973. The 2014 enrollment numbers are also down 30% from just four years ago.  The reason is simple: “employment figures are dismal.”  In 2013, the article reports for example that “fewer than two-thirds of newly minted lawyers had found jobs that required passing the bar exam.”

The various experts who opined for the article blamed factors such as software automating routine legal functions and outsourcing to India. These reasons don’t seem particularly persuasive however.
Personally, my guess is that during the recession employers realized that lawyers need some experience to really add value. As a result, an over-supply of inexperienced and underemployed lawyers has been accumulating for several years. Until this backlog is finally absorbed it may be tough for brand new graduates to compete.

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