Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Lawyers!

Waylon Jennings was wrong about the career prospects for cowboys. (Hear him sing it.) It's lawyers who are in career trouble.

Law schools have been churning out lawyers in huge numbers long after there has been any need for them. Openings for lawyers have dropped like a stone in this recession. Lawyers have been laid off from both businesses and law firms. But law schools are still recruiting like mad, saying that having a law degree will help you in business or that it will train your mind, or that it is a great general professional degree to have. NOT!

Major law firms haven't helped their profession, either. They no longer provide close mentoring for associates or place them carefully in a specialty that is the right fit for them. They are more reluctant to make people partner than they used to be. And they are much quicker to lay people off, no matter what their level.

If you are looking for an advanced degree beyond your BA, but don't know what you want to do, DON'T GO TO LAW SCHOOL. Only go to law school if you really, really want to be a lawyer in a law firm or a public interest lawyer and plan on graduating the top quarter of your class.