Three Memorial Day morsels fresh from the grill:
(1) Rochelle Olson, “Job Market Leaves New Lawyers far from Easy Street”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune notes the underemployment plights of a handful of recent law grads. One is even fluent in multiple foreign languages, which I thought was a shoe-in qualification. Only temp work is available for them at best.
Related to my previous post: towards the end, University of Minnesota Law School dean, David Wippmann, blames tuition increases on the state for reducing public funding of higher education. He obviously doesn’t see a legal education bubble because he should be asking why law school is so expensive relative to its outcomes to begin with. I also disagree with State Supreme Court Justice Anderson’s characterization of the State’s educational priorities: no one is starving the beast and then blaming it for failing; rather, people are failing to see the beast gorging itself unsustainably. On the contrary, Minnesotans should be happy their tax dollars aren’t being funneled into an asset bubble.
Minnesota is a special case I’ll return to later.
I only put this on your non-biodegradable plastic plate because it harkens to the J.D.’s alleged versatility. In particular, “Business leaders and corporate headhunters agree that the JD is once again [when was it before?] an alternative to the MBA as the degree of choice for CEO candidates, and that the trend is very likely to increase over the next decade.” In the section titled ‘JD Renaissance’, the piece discusses how increasing government regulations will require legally-trained corporate officers while simultaneously bemoaning their lack of business knowledge.
I’m not convinced. The J.D. should be a specialized professional degree, not one that can move in and out of vogue (which I doubt it ever did). CEO slots aren’t exactly a growing sector in the economy for the 45,000 JDs who graduate annually either, and the article accepts that all these CEOs began their careers as outside counsel, meaning we’re not talking about anything close to entry-level positions. Additionally, what does this say about MBAs? If they’re about to be crowded out by JDs, will someone start The Business School Tuition Bubble?
Good news! Congress is beginning to think that non-dischargeablity isn’t such a good idea. Though all loans should be dischargeable in bankruptcy, private loans typically carry high interest rates. If this passes, we’ll be able to see how likely private lenders will loan money to law students in a tuition bubble. If lenders think the legal sector isn’t producing jobs, the bubble will at least partially contract. It’s called the Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness act in the House, Fairness for Struggling Students Act in the Senate.