Our country has over 200 accredited law schools. The record number of graduates are faced with an unprecedented and frightening prospective job market.
As a South Florida personal injury lawyer, I believe the problem is the sheer number of students graduating and being admitted to practice. Traditionally, law school class size fluctuates depending on the number and quality of applicants. Many who are considering applying to law school in this economy are doing so because of the lack of employment opportunities in other fields. I fear some law schools desperate for their own survival, may be discounting the quality of the applicant and their potential to be an effective lawyer, in favor of their ability to pay for tuition.
According to the Law School Admission Council Inc., a nonprofit corporation that administers the Law School Admission Test, the number of law school applicants is down nearly 14% from a year ago. Yet the number of graduates has increased.
According the to the ABA, the number of law graduates per year spiked to 44,495 this year from 42,673 in 2006. In addition, the ABA recently accredited ten more law schools.
Increasingly, law school graduates are simply not finding employment. According to NALP, the graduating class of 2011 employment rates are at an 18-year low. Some law school graduates that are not finding work are angry. And, some have even started fighting back. More than a dozen lawsuits have been filed around the country alleging that law schools lied to prospective students about inflated graduate employment and placement numbers.
The only real immediate solution is for the roughly 200 accredited law schools in our country to immediately lower the number of admitted students per class. I hope some law schools will consider this.
As a car accident injury lawyer in Miami for over 20 years, I think the far better solution for this problem lies in the admissions process. The formula that is used by many law schools needs to be revamped as to who they should admit and how to educate prospective students as to whether or not they should even apply to law school.
In my book, Make It Your Own Law Firm, the Ultimate Law Student’s Guide to Owning, Managing and Marketing Your Own Successful Law Firm, I suggest a different approach in evaluating whether or not one should apply to law school. As well as how to cultivate prosperous relationships that will help you transition into owning your own firm upon graduation.
I do not believe that there should be any unemployed lawyers when there is such a high demand by many in our community for legal representation. The problem is not in the quantity of lawyers but in the quality.