Ever wanted to be a lawyer? You’re in a dwindling minority, according to a New York Times piece. They’re reporting that, for many, the dreams of being-kind-of-a-turd-to-another-human-being-for-a-lot-of-money isn’t as appealing as it once was.
And the article could stop right there, but it doesn’t.
As of this month, there were 30,000 applicants to law schools for the fall, a 20 percent decrease from the same time last year and a 38 percent decline from 2010, according to the Law School Admission Council. Of some 200 law schools nationwide, only 4 have seen increases in applications this year. In 2004 there were 100,000 applicants to law schools; this year there are likely to be 54,000.
Some, including Professor Hadfield of the University of Southern California, have called for one- or two-year training programs to create nonlawyer specialists for many tasks currently done by lawyers. Whether or not such changes occur, for now the decline is creating what many see as a cultural shift.
“In the ’80s and ’90s, a liberal arts graduate who didn’t know what to do went to law school,” Professor Henderson of Indiana said. “Now you get $120,000 in debt and a default plan of last resort whose value is just too speculative. Students are voting with their feet. There are going to be massive layoffs in law schools this fall. We won’t have the bodies we need to meet the payroll.”