Saturday, November 14, 2009

Is Law School a Good Investment?

Not according to the new research paper, "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Lawyers." From Economix:
The paper tries to measure the return on investment in a law school education, using three prototypical students (the “Also Ran,” the “Solid Performer” and the “Hot Prospect”). . . . The results are somewhat disheartening, especially considering the surging interest in law school during this tough job market.
Of course, there are a few problems with the methodology employed by the authors:
One big caveat with these types of rankings is that the inputs are different: The students who are accepted to Harvard — and then choose to attend — are probably different from the students who go to the University of Iowa, or for that matter, the University of Southern California, or Yale, or any other school.
Check out the article and the paper.

25 comments:

  1. The problem is that the legal market is oversaturated. Soem of these TTT law schools need to start closing down, or we need to make bar admission requirements a lot more difficult.

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  2. It will only get worse with the health reform bill, doctors will make less and all the kids who would have been doctors will be lawyers so they can sue the poor fools who became doctors.

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  3. Law School - nope. Too saturated.

    Med School - nope. Don't want a gov't bureaucrat telling me how to treat patients then setting my salary at $40k/year.

    Engineering School - nope. All the good tech jobs have moved overseas. And with the nation's huge debt, most like defense spending will be cut, at least until the next war.

    Hmmmmm. What to do?

    I've got it! I'll just mooch off the gov't!

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  4. Notorous troll that I am, I cannot but reflect that, in the immortal words of one Gore Vidal, we are a nation "of the lawyers, by the lawyers and for the lawyers" and suitably rewarding jobs will be found - one way or another - for all the useless spawn of the lawyer diploma mills. Even if the nation, what's left of it, is converted into an agrarian scrap heap. Lawyers of all stripes demonstrate, on a daily basis, their profound, fundamental disregard - economic, moral, spritual and every other way - for the good of the nation.

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  5. It was worth it for me because now I'm self-employed, where before I was dependent on others. Hurray for me.

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  6. Wow, some really asinine and off-track commentary, other than the first post (with which I agree, although far easier said than done). Conservative bitterness appears to be at its highest levels since the LBJ administration.

    Anyway, one important thing the author does not even attempt to factor into the calculus is job satisfaction. For many, this may weigh against the investment; the stories of miserable lawyers, particularly in biglaw, are too numerous to recount. For myself, however, I worked as a consultant for several years before pursuing a law degree, and am far happier in my current profession. A non-economic factor to be sure, but one that should not be pushed aside by those considering law school.

    Additionally, law school gives people with high academic potential, but low college performance, a chance to dramatically improve their earning potential. With a high LSAT score, and also-ran can turn into a solid performer, or a solid performer into a hot prospect.

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  7. Why are lawyers buried 12 feet under ground when everyone else is buried 6 feet under? Because deep down, they really are good people.

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  8. With some paralegals and highly competent legal secretaries making in the 50-70k a year range, law school is not a good investment if you have to take out loans, and are not going into big litigation. If you want quality of life, you won't get it as a solo having to pay 1500 a month for 10 years...

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  9. "We may be well on our way to a society overrun by lawyers, hungry as locusts, and brigades of judges is numbers never before contemplated." -Chief Justice Warren Burger

    That warning was ignored thirty years ago and has been mostly forgotten[1]. Why should today, when Congress passes thousand-page bills that those voting on them have not read, be any different?
    ********
    [1] I'll conjecture that the Democrats ignore Republican Burger because the legal profession is one of their main special-interest constituencies, and the the Republicans ignore him because he presided over Roe v. Wade.

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  11. But please folks; the benefits of both elite colleges and law schools (or any undergarduate or graduate schools) are unquantifable. Think of the fine social affiliations, from sporting intellectual competitors to acquaintances to friends to romances, one would benefit from by attending Harvard College or Harvard Law School. I don't want to seem to Machiavellian about this, because by this I don't mean anything contrived. It's a fine pool of people at these places full of those who would enrich one's life non-commercially and vica versa.

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  12. Wait ... I saw a lawyer joke. The difference between 30,000 dying in an earthquake in Turkey or Iraq and 50 dying in our worst ones in the USA? Lawyers. The solid socio-economic/jurisprudencial infrastructure upon which the US's economic (and military) might has been built has been constructed by lawyers. Thus, the civil progress and political-economic development made in the USA from 1600 to 2009 has been largely due to the vigilance and avid professionalism of the legal bar. We Are Justice [and in the words of Will Smith in Men in Black ... we make this look good.]

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  17. The problem is that now, these days law schools are very expensive.Most incoming law students have no idea what they are getting into and find the results of all of their hard work and skills stretched to the breaking point during their first year of law school.

    considering law school

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