Getting a professional degree was, for a long time, the ticket to a stable and lucrative career. While obtaining one of these degrees has always been difficult, time-consuming, and expensive, the generally accepted belief was that taking out lots of student loans in order to get that degree was a worthy investment in your future. Law and medicine in particular have been seen as the gold-standard professions in terms of return on investment. Even if you go $100,000 or $200,000 into debt to obtain one of these degrees, you’ll come out making $100,000 to $200,000 per year, and you’ll be fine (more than fine!) — so we thought.
Until recently, at least in terms of law. Law students typically accumulate an obscene amount of debt, but all those lucrative entry-level attorney positions with six-figure salaries? They are drying up. We now have thousands more law student graduates than there are available positions. And many of those positions are increasingly jobs with small firms or contracted legal temp agencies. Not to say that those jobs are inherently bad, but they certainly don’t typically provide six-figure salaries. And now people are really starting to wonder: is the price tag for a law degree worth it?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has come out with a new report on projections for attorney job openings. Right now, law schools are churning out more than twice the number of graduates than there are available attorney jobs. Based on these projections, within ten years there might be a quarter million lawyers who cannot practice law—and most of them will have a mountain of student loan debt to grapple with. Something’s gotta change, no?
To read more about the new report, click here.