More Links About Buildings and Food–The Georgetown Five

I have two:

(1) NPR interviewed five Georgetown law graduates who’re finding their way in the 2010 legal market.

  • The economy is growing, yet these are their results: one is going to work for a small federal agency, one is running for office in Maine, one is deferred for a year for a volunteer position, one is starting a solo practice, and the fifth is joining a friend’s practice.
  • They compare their opportunities to those of lesser-ranked law schools’ graduates over the last decade.
  • While they are optimistic the big firms will rebound, they are certain that large firms will recruit from classes behind them and that starting salaries will be lower.
  • They are also optimistic that they’ll still have decent careers.
  • Finally, none of them thought the economy would be so bad when they applied.

My thoughts:

  1. I can forgive NPR for its small sample from one school.  A Georgetown J.D. is marketable everywhere, and if these five have it rough, I worry for all the others.  However, the segment also illustrates NPR’s obliviousness to the legal market.  Only when Georgetown 3Ls can’t get six-figure salaries do they notice there’s a problem?
  2. Here’s what drives me nuts about econometrics: recessions are solely determined by growth.  To all you economists: either there’s full employment or there isn’t, and don’t you even *think* about whining to me about inflation when tens of millions of people are un(der)employed.  (Yes, things aren’t as bad for lawyers as for the vast majority of unemployed Americans, but that’s a post for another day.)
  3. It’s important to note that three out of the five students are working either for themselves or close friends; sending out hundreds of applications led to no results.
  4. The dismal future of the legal market, especially post-recession, is this blog’s fulcrum.  The snowballing of unemployed new attorneys is not going to make the recovery for the legal market quicker.  Although, if there’s a sudden upswing in demand for legal services, then I’ll be wrong as snow and happily so, though the underlying problems will remain.  These graduates think the legal market’s transformation is permanent, which isn’t a professional or market assessment but is worth noting because as it does recover it’ll be easier to see that a legal career won’t command a loan-busting salary, which’ll cause law school tuition to drop.  Nevertheless, these grads are optimistic about their careers.  So should you be.
  5. Even in the 2006-07 application season, people didn’t understand the U.S.’s bubble economy.  I’m not sure when one could’ve reasonably known the economy would sink.  As I’ve written before, the cost/benefit analysis on legal education began as late as 2009.  My opinion is that anyone who graduates til 2012 couldn’t’ve known otherwise.

(2) Everything Margaret “Airplane Man” Garrett says and does is right, and now she has a new band!  Yay!  Her previous band, Mr. Airplane Man substantially helped me maintain my sanity through law school and grad school.  It’s one of the most underrated bands of the 2000s.  Now to lure Sister Spaceman to Brooklyn…


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