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Law Students

: Fight The Hypo

2Ls Having Trouble Finding Jobs

By Casebook Sherpa


I’ve been on the road for work with a less than stellar Internet connection (think molasses on a winter day), but wanted to get something up on this.

If you haven’t already, check out this story from The New York Times on the vanishing BigLaw summer jobs. I suppose it’s nothing new, but the story puts some real perspective on how deep the problem really is for many law students:

This fall, law students are competing for half as many openings at big firms as they were last year in what is shaping up to be the most wrenching job search season in over 50 years.

For students now, the promise of the big law firm career ? and its paychecks ? is slipping through their fingers, forcing them to look at lesser firms in smaller markets as well as opportunities in government or with public interest groups, law school faculty and students say.

The frenzy has even pushed the nation?s top firms, a tradition-bound coterie, into discussing how to reform the recruitment process with an earnestness that would have been unthinkable just years ago.

Whether reform ever comes may depend on how serious the economy really gets.

I’m actualy more interested in the “false promise” angle the story plays.

One of my first year professor was big on how law schools give students a sense that they will never have a problem finding a high-paying job by virtue of their having a law degree. This culture encourages greater indebtedness which, in turn, reduces options for young lawyers who would like to work for non-profits, the government, or smaller firms but need a bigger paycheck.

After he lost his job as a television reporter two years ago, Derek Fanciullo considered law school, thinking it was a historically sure bet. He took out ?a ferocious amount of debt,? he said ? $210,000, to be exact ? and enrolled last September in the School of Law at New York University.

?It was thought to be this green pasture of stability, a more comfortable life,? said Mr. Fanciullo, who had heard that 90 percent of N.Y.U. law graduates land jobs at firms, and counted on that to repay his loans. ?It was almost written in stone that you?ll end up in a law firm, almost like a birthright.?

With the cost of law school skyrocketing over the years, the implicit arrangement between students and the most expensive and prestigious schools has only strengthened: the student takes on hefty debt to pay tuition, and the school issues the golden ticket to a job at a high-paying firm ? if that?s what the student wants.

?Students came in with a certain sense of what the compact was going to be,? said Irene Dorzback, the assistant dean for career services at the New York University School of Law. But with the system crumbling in recent months, Ms. Dorzback said, ?people are now accepting this notion of a lost year.?

No matter how great you are (or think you are), you are never entitled to a job and your law degree does not guarantee employment.

Full post as published by Fight The Hypo on August 28, 2009 (boomark / email).

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