Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Will There Be Too Many Lawyers by 2013??

Very interesting article on whether the current economic downtown will lead to a surge of new lawyers fresh out of law schools in four years...

If you practice law, or know someone who does, mark May 2013 on the calendar. That’s when the legal job market could get a lot more competitive.

A record number of people are ready to opt out of what Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has called “a weak job market,” and wait it out in the halls of America's law schools.

More than 60,000 aspiring attorneys sat for the LSAT this fall, more than any year kept on record by the Law School Admission Council, or LSAC. That’s about 20% more than fall 2008. And because the American Bar Association, or ABA, gives accreditation to a few new law schools a year, there are more places for them to go.

“People do tend to turn to graduate education as a way to ride out a slowdown,” said Wendy Margolis, an LSAC representative.

Margolis says there are 5% more law school applicants this year than there were in 2008, and the average number of applications per applicant has risen as well.

“It appears they realize it’s competitive,” she says. Although not all law students end up practicing law, ABA Commission Chairman Allan Tanenbaum says there will be a backlog of people with law degrees.

And come 2013, the legal profession could look a lot different.“There’s going to be a whole new model,” he says, adding that the ABA is exploring whether to assemble a group for skilled lawyers interested in public service akin to Teach for America or AmeriCorps.“Challenging times force people to think a little bit outside the box,” he says.

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