HBCU Law School Grads Acutely Affected By Recession

April 5, 2012  |  

by R. Asmerom

Every year, we hear about the overabundance of lawyers saturating the market, but that doesn’t seem to deter many people from filling out law school applications. Indeed, when the economy gets bad, the laid-off make it their job to apply to grad schools. It doesn’t make total economic sense but few would’ve thunk the recession would last so long. The legal industry has been hard hit, with many of those affected being those recent law school graduates who didn’t go to top ranked schools.

The Bay State Banner points out that the job market is especially bad for HBCU grads. Kenneth J. Cooper reports that in the Dallas market, the Southern Methodist University law school is no longer able to promise its students placement in the top Dallas firms. “Instead of owning the Dallas law market, [SMU graduates were] competing with graduates from the Ivy League schools and some of the Top 15 schools,” recent graduate Ahman Airitam told the Bay State Banner.

Graduates from the top 15 law schools in the country which include Ivy League schools and state schools like UCLA and UC Berkeley are less affected than HBCUs, which rank much lower. For example, Howard University is the top ranked black law school but only ranks #121 in the rankings.

The Bay State Banner also interviewed a recent grad, Julian Hall, of North Carolina Central Law who conveyed the challenges facing his fellow graduates: “I got a friend who works waiting tables. Another friend of mine that went to Carolina, she’s working at the makeup counter — passed the bar and everything, doing makeup. I got another friend that is a bartender. So it’s bad out here.”


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