Things haven’t been looking too good recently for lawyering. A new book, “The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis” by Steven J. Harper, has gotten a lot of attention for telling an inconvenient truth about law schools—that they are turning out twice as many lawyers each year as there are jobs for their graduates. Harper says the economics of law, particularly among the big corporate firms, simply isn’t producing new jobs. Citi Private Bank calculated that the demand for high-end legal services has fallen at a rate of 0.4 percent every year since 2008. It shows. The total employment level for the legal industry (that’s for all jobs, including paralegals, support staff and administrators) has dropped by 50,000 jobs in the past five years.
It is no wonder, then, that the New York Times reports law school applications will be down 38 percent this year from 2010. College graduates are finally realizing that a law school education is not worth the cost, much less the crushing debt most would incur, if no legal jobs are available.