The legal industry has had a problem long before the recession. Yes, we've been hurt by the recession too, but long before that our industry was saturated with lawyers. For years, law schools have been herding students into their classrooms. That's great for students who aren't quite ready to enter the working world and for those who really want to practice law, but maybe wouldn't have the credentials to get in if the classes were smaller. But the problem lies when all of these students graduate. Now what? You've got a JD. Congrats. Now it's time to study for and take the bar exam. Good luck. If you don't pass, I hope you have a bachelor's degree that you can fall back on while you study and retake the exam. Or maybe you were one of the lucky few to secure employment and even luckier that your employer is going to stick by you while you take it a second time. When you pass, CONGRATS!! I know what a relief that is (I passed two different state bar exams on the first try each time *patting myself on the back*. Hey. Sometimes, it's ok to toot your own horn. *Toot toot*). If you don't have employment lined up then what?
Unfortunately, the sad reality for so many graduates is that there are no jobs available for them. This is frightening when you've just racked up thousands in student loan debt to attend law school. When I graduated from law school, I didn't yet know where I would be working. Luckily, just before I took the bar exam, I got word that I landed a clerkship. Whew! But I know several attorneys who graduated the same year as me who never landed full-time, permanent legal positions. And I'm talking, we are some years past graduation. Instead, several have gone on to pursue non-legal careers, while others have gone back to get Masters in other areas of study or are preparing to go back to school. I wonder if they wish they had skipped law school and gone to grad school instead. And underemployment is real for lawyers. No one enters law school thinking that they will graduate only to find themselves struggling to make ends meet. It makes people wonder, "Was going to law school the wise thing to do?"
Working Girls, how's the market in your industry? Do you find that there are just too many people in your industry vying for the same jobs? Have you had any experience with this in your industry?