No secret: The present and future of the legal employment market are in turmoil, and crushing student loan debt is the topic of lively and painful blogs and conversations everywhere.
Pre-law advice: you still want to go to law school
If you are seriously considering law school after exploring the current and predicted future difficulties in the legal employment market, and you are prepared to take on the debt, ponder this list of considerations based on wise advice from Collins B. Byrd, Jr., Assistant Dean of Admissions at The University of Iowa College of Law:
- Know why you are going to law school. If you do not know, explore what lawyers actually do before you get serious about applying. Talk to real lawyers about what they do and why they do it. Think about what they are saying (and not saying), and project yourself into their day-to-day routines.
- Be flexible and become knowledgeable: your dream job will not be your first job after law school so you will have to learn about and be prepared for the twists and turns in legal career paths.
- There will always be jobs in some practice areas, but those areas will change with the market and you will have to pay attention to changes in the economy that will (or won’t) support those practices. Just because you want a particular practice area does not mean that it will be possible or profitable when you want to do the work. “Wishin’ and hopin'” will not make you a real estate lawyer development lawyer during a deeply depressed real estate market.
- This country is dealing with a lot of issues which will not go away in the near future. However, an outbreak of “justice” is not one of this country’s afflictions. If you are determined to have a public service career, plan carefully, network relentlessly, develop and hone as many practical skills as you can, pinch your pennies, and live like a student while you are in law school.