Political Animal – Why Law School Doesn’t Work Anymore
The supply of lawyers has made the quality of a legal jobs dramatically worse. Graduates of lower-tier law schools often now toil in contract positions as document reviewers, “who sit in horrible little basement rooms. They are performing mindless work in Dickensian conditions, stuck in there” explains one law professor with whom Stevens spoke. These jobs are dead-end ones, with no potential for career advancement; they merely pay the bills. And the bills are really high. The average student loan burden of new law school graduates is $125,000.
I’ve written about this problem before but I admit that when I’ve addressed this I’ve probably focused too much on the education debt part of this, and the way law schools keep churning out more lawyers despite knowing that the career prospects for most of them aren’t very good.
One thing I’ve missed is how actual law firms operate in this system. I assumed that the problem was simply that many of these lawyers couldn’t get jobs. What Harper emphasizes is that the supply of lawyers means even graduates of good law schools who have jobs at the top firms aren’t doing as well.