What is The Future of Law School?

    Derek ByrdDavid Solomon, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, believes that the fate of law programs and law graduate is going to drastically change in the next few decades.

    In a recent segment he wrote for the New York Times DealBook blog, Solomon focuses on the “signs of vigorous life in the legal job market” which is going to be a defining moment for the appeal law school has for most students. Solomon recognizes that issues such as unreasonable student debt, poor job opportunities, and changes in the school faculty structures are big contributors in the shift of law school enrollments.

    Solomon also points to the low levels of student application, which have gone down to 2.9 percent this year alone. He continues to dissect the situation even further, by concluding that class sizes could steady around 37,000 students,  or even in the 1970s levels. Intimate classrooms could mean more jobs available for those who do graduate, and less competition for available jobs in this field.

    For high ranking schools the employment market is already looking up. Georgetown University, for instance, had a 93 percent employed rate for its 2013 graduate class, and more than sixty percent were hired in the private sector-  with a starting salary of $160,000.

    David also mentions other profits of pursuing a legal career. A study conducted by professors Frank McIntyre and Michael Simkovic found that moving on from graduate school in a terrible economy had a generally little effect on lifetime income in respect to graduating with a four year certification. In spite of the fact that unemployment levels at graduation influence pay for the initial four years, the effect disappears as law graduates advance in their careers. The study concludes that, in this day, a law degree is estimated at $1 million in a lifetime. 

    In addition, Solomon also refers to the American Bar Foundation’s After the JD study, which follows attorneys who successfully passed the bar exam in 2000. After two years, law students were very content with the decision to attend law school and career path. Even students from lesser known schools and un-impressive grades were able to earn up to $95,000 during their first year.