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Many people have been asking me about Sunday’s NY times article “Is Law School a Losing Game?

I think the article makes some valid points, including the fact that the statistic for percentage of employment nine months after graduation is a bit misleading because flipping burgers and working at the law school on a temporary basis count for this purpose.  More on this point in later posts.  In the meantime, some  perspective may be helpful here:

  • The focus of the article is on a person who in my view paid an absorbatant amount of tuition for a low tier law school.  If you cannot get in to an upper tier school, it may pay to attend a state law school (there are many good ones) and save some cash.  Marketing materials may promise the world but prospective law students should use a bit of commen sense here.  There are few elite firms and lots of students vying for the job in any market.  The chances an average student (no indication that the person was higher than that in the article) from a low tier law school gets one of these jobs is very low so save your cash.
  • LegalJob does not have much sympathy for one of the fact patterns alluded to in the article.  No law job and no law job prospects so the law school graduate moves back home and waits tables for some short-term cash.  LegalJob recommends a different approach.  Go the law firm of your dreams and offer to work hourly or even volunteer to help out in the practice group for which you would ultimately like to work.  Do this during the day.  If the first firm does not agree, go to your number two choice.  There will be a top firm that will agree to this win-win arrangement.  At night, you can wait tables or do whatever you need to do to support your day job.  The next step obviously is to demonstrate your work ethic and how smart you are.  Perhaps someone takes notice and you end up securing your dream job one day.  Alternatively, someone takes notice and helps you secure an interview at another top law firm.
  • The key is to immerse yourself in the environment you want to be in and give yourself a fighting chance to get the dream job.

More posts on this subject are coming.

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