Georgetown University Law Center (known for its great gym).

I feel very fortunate to have had an idea of what I wanted to do from such a young age, and even more fortunate that it involved graduate school. What can you do with a bachelor’s degree anymore? I’m hoping that the job market will pick up in the three years I spend at law school, because a lot of lawyers are getting laid off. The American Bar Association is even encouraging college students not to apply to law school, citing the bleak job market.

– Noah Rich, a Georgetown 1L who was interviewed by the New York Times as part of the newspaper’s survey of the class of 2011 at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

(It’s hard out there for a class of 2011 college graduate. More findings, and additional law-related tidbits, after the jump.)

Here’s the Times’s take on the plight of last year’s college grads:

The 1.7 million members of the Class of 2011 witnessed, within the four-year span of their college careers, one of the greatest bull markets in United States history and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Last spring, they shed their caps and gowns and joined a kind of B.A. bread line. Unemployment among recent liberal-arts graduates, at 9.4 percent, was higher than the national average, and student-loan debt, at an average of nearly $25,000, had reached record levels.

Drew University was a good school to analyze because it’s at neither the top nor the bottom of the college hierarchy:

Graduating seniors at schools like Drew University in Madison, N.J., have felt the stresses of the job market acutely. For all its merits — including a much-admired theater department and a prestigious Wall Street internship program — Drew ranks 94th among 178 national liberal-arts colleges on U.S. News & World Report’s annual list. The middle of the collegiate pack is not where you want to be when you’re competing for a diminishing number of entry-level jobs.

Which may explain how Noah Rich wound up at Georgetown. Some folks criticize those who go to law school, especially those who go directly from undergrad, like Noah. But what are the alternatives? As noted by the Times, 17 percent of its sample of class of 2011 Drew grads is unemployed, and only 39 percent have full-time jobs. Of the jobs described to the Times, 34 percent of them “involve food service, retail, customer service, clerical or unskilled work.”

Law firms are “hiring” — if you’re willing to work for free. As graduate Adrienne Delibert told the Times:

I was offered an unpaid internship at a law firm but turned it down. If you can’t pay me $10 an hour, you don’t deserve to be in business. The job market makes me feel like stabbing myself in the face.

Presumably this law firm is familiar with the legal complexities surrounding unpaid internships.

The job situation for class of 2011 college grads is so depressing that some seem to be giving up. The NYT interviewed one Matthew Miller, who said:

I guess I had unrealistic expectations. I thought that someone was going to hand me a job and say, “You’re the one we want and you’ll go far, kid.” That wasn’t the case. Some days you just sleep in, and you’re not sure why….

Unrealistic expectations? Have you thought about law school?

But it seems that Miller had a better idea. The former legal assistant is described by the Times as “now traveling in Spain.”

Hello, Cruel World: What the Fate of One Class of 2011 Says About the Job Market [New York Times]

Earlier: The ABA Started ‘Warning’ People About Going to Law School Years Ago
Quote of the Day: Will a T14 Law Degree Ward Off Unemployment?
On the Legality of Unpaid Internships


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