Dear internet, make me a graphic like this, only for law school prices and with, like, a student crying or something.

So we’re all going to vote tomorrow, and then on Wednesday most of us are going to wake up with the same old problems. I’m going to need to lose some weight. Romney’s going to be an unemployed rich guy nobody likes. And America’s law students are going to wake up in the middle of the night worried about getting jobs.

Last week, the Washington Post wrote an important article on the abysmal state of the legal job market. It sounded notes that are familiar to regular readers of Above the Law, but I feel that whenever the facts about legal education make it into the Post or the New York Times, it’s important because parents see it there. The more parents know, the less likely they are to push their kids into law.

While most of us know the broad picture (it’s a figurative disaster), it is still fun to pick through rubble….

Let’s pull out some fun quotes from the WaPo article about how expensive law school is, and how terrible the job market is:

  • UC-Irvine, a public university, offers the second-most-expensive legal education in the country. At more than $77,000 a year including living expenses for out-of-state students, a JD from Irvine tops the bill from Harvard, Yale or Stanford… [UCI Law Dean Erwin] Chemerinsky seems untroubled by this.
  • So, in theory, all of the BLS-forecasted job openings through 2020 have already been filled, and 59,157 new lawyers are still looking for “real” law jobs.
  • “I’m not sure how well-thought-out a lot of decisions [to invest in law school] are, in all candor,” says Mark Medice, national program director for Peer Monitor, a Thomson Reuters unit that tracks hiring and compensation data at large law firms.
  • This is not a crisis of the elites. The exceptional, those graduating at the top of their law school classes at Stanford, Yale or Harvard will, as ever, do just fine.

Jesus Christ, $77,000 for law school? Remember back when UC Irvine was free?

As I said, everybody should know that paying full freight for anything but the best law schools is taking your financial life in your own hands. Biglaw isn’t going back to the way it was in 2006. It doesn’t have to. We haven’t seen a raise to the associate salary scale in five years, and I don’t think we’re going to see one next year. If you don’t know that the cost of legal education has outstripped the value of legal education, you are too stupid to operate Google.

Now we can add this Washington Post article to the tome of “information readily available for those who bother to look.”

Will law school students have jobs after they graduate? [Washington Post]


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