Saturday, July 21, 2012

Too Many Lawyers, Duh.

A task force of lawyers and law school deans are meeting in New York to discuss the state of the job market for new attorneys. Their mission is to understand why only 55% of law school graduates found legal work nine months after graduating. This is a shameful statistic for any profession. By contrast, I would say close to 100% of medical school graduates are working in a medical field nine months after graduation, the exception being those who choose to go into a different line of work. Unless a graduate finished from one of the top twenty law schools, many of the jobs for young lawyers offer very meager income, mostly temp work paying $25-30 per hour and no benefits.

Therefore all these legal eagles are going to get together to understand why lawyers can't get decent jobs. To me, it seems the cause should be immediately obvious to everybody--we have TOO MANY LAWYERS. Do we really need to call in Sherlock Holmes to solve this one? The U.S. currently graduates over 40,000 lawyers a year. By contrast, there are less than 20,000 medical school graduates per year in this country. This number is tightly regulated by the government and the AMA. We have so few that we actually have to import doctors from other countries to serve all the patients that need to be seen. Law schools, on the other hand, don't appear to be kept in check by anyone. There are over 200 law schools in the U.S., with each one packing more students into each class in order to make more money. The problem of finding jobs after law school is getting so bad that even undergraduates are starting to take notice, with 25% fewer students taking the LSAT over the last two years.

With all this evidence that the law profession is not immune to supply and demand, do we really need an expensive panel of "experts" convening in pricey Manhattan to tell us that there are not enough jobs to go around for all the new lawyers? Maybe this is all a big conspiracy so that we will have enough attorneys to interpret the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare. Since nobody read it before voting on it, it will take a platoon of lawyers to sort through its 2000+ pages of regulations and tell us how to treat our patients.

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