The Problem with Law School

Last week, we talked about what some of our biggest financial mistakes were, and a few of you mentioned grad school, specifically, law school.

The Times is taking a look at the economics of going to law school, and points out that attending veterinary school can cost more than attending law school, and veterinarians earn less on average than lawyers do. The question is: Why has everyone been calling law school a scam, while veterinary school has remained relatively unscorned?

It has a lot to do with rankings and what school you attend. Less expensive law schools draw “less qualified staff,” meaning an all-star practitioner can earn a lot of money working in the private sector, or by being courted by big name schools with more money to throw around, so there is an instant imbalance among schools and the quality of education that will land a graduate a job. And then there’s this:

Duke, for instance, which was No. 11 on the U.S. News rankings, said its graduates had a 95 percent employment rate last year, with an average private sector salary of $160,000.

Is this true? Is the No. 11-ranked law school landing jobs for 95 percent of its graduates? And if so—this is important—what percent of them are working non-legal jobs? What percent are only employed part-time, or as temps and are struggling to find full-time work? If we want people to make informed decisions about putting themselves into debt for a degree, accurate numbers should be provided.


Photo: Harvard Law Record



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