Rethink Your Career Aspirations: Becoming A Lawyer Isn’t As Secure As It Used To Be

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A degree in law might not be as secure as it once was.

In a column by Steven Harper published on Business Insider, the author writes the following:

The Lawyer Bubble is about much more than lawyers. It’s about a mentality that has accompanied the corporatization of America’s most important institutions, including the legal profession — a dramatic transformation that is still unfolding. Behind the change is a drive to boost current-year performance and profits at the expense of more enduring values for which there are no quantifiable measures.

As a result of this need to maximize profits at the expense of some of the other values of the industry, says the headline, the legal profession is on its way to “imploding.” The legal industry has already seen a big drop in the number of available jobs for law school grads. To kill two birds with one stone, a number of law schools are creating programs that will help new grads connect with those who don’t have the means to hire a lawyer. The experience provides those who need it with legal services and new lawyers with much needed experience and a job. However, those jobs aren’t the high-paying ones that we’re used to seeing from this  industry. In some cases, the experience gained is in exchange for school credit.

This could serve as a solution to the issues that Harper and the industry have brought up. According to a recent study, whose results were written up in The National Law Journal, ” Only 5 percent [of polled pre-law students] responded that salary potential was their primary reason, while 71 percent said that they were motivated most by pursuing a career they are passionate about.” But this wasn’t always the case. For a long time, a career in law was an indicator of great intelligence and an even greater salary. Nowadays, that survey found that 43 percent of pre-law students plan to use their education to pursue other avenues, like a graduate business degree or government work. More than half — 58 percent — said a big reason for their decision to explore other avenues is the job market.

With the market shifting, it’s time for prospective lawyers to re-evaluate their reasons for wanting to go into law. If you have plans for public service or an alternative career, a law degree is a versatile one that can help with those goals. But anyone thinking in terms of big law firm dollars might want to do a little research and have a clear strategy. The last thing you want is to have all this education, all that education debt, and no job.

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