Law student applications decline with job availability
Lawyers fresh from law school are finding it hard to get a job, a fact that has seemed to deter hopeful law students from applying.
As of January, there were 30,000 applicants to law schools for the fall, a 20 percent decrease from 2011 and a 38 percent decrease from 2010, according to the Law School Admission Council.
UH Law Center has seen a decrease in applicants as well, and it may be because the economy is improving.
“Usually when the economy is bad, most folks try to apply to law school,” said Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall Law School Dean Dannye R. Holley.
The idea of being an attorney creates a sense of financial security that many other jobs can’t, said Holley.
“I wanted to go to law school because once I graduated I didn’t have to look for a job, I was a job,” said UH law graduate Berhanu Gebreslasie.
The Law Center’s Associate Director for Admissions Nathan Neely said he agreed that the economy affects attorneys, as everyone else, but in a unique way.
Around 2006 and 2007, prior to the economic crisis of 2008, there were historic numbers of law school applicants, Neely said. Because it takes generally three years to complete law school it wasn’t till 2009 and 2010 that those applicants felt the wrath of the economy.
“It took that long for the applicant pool to react to the housing market and to the credit issues going on at that time.” Neely said.
A focal point of discouragement amongst people wanting to go to law school is the fact that during that time period, only a few years ago, it was more difficult to find a job out of law school than previous years.
“In spring 2009 after some assessment firms said ‘whoa we might not be able to take all these people,’” said Law Center’s Associate Dean for Student Affairs Sondra R. Tennessee.
However 2009 wasn’t long ago, and the discouraging words of those old fresh lawyers still circulate through our hallways.
“My brother graduated from law school in 2010, and it was such a hassle for him to get a decent paying job,” said international business graduate Amanda Baetz.
But Tennessee said the passionate law students do not let the job market deter their application.
“We are working with people that really want to be here,” said Tennessee.