Today in “You Have Got To Be Shitting Me” news: Law schools have requested that NALP put out a “more positive message” about the job market. James Leipold, who directs the National Association for Legal Professionals (NALP), said that law schools and law firms are in blatant denial about the uncertain legal job market. One law school even requested that the director describe the entry-level job market as “good.” Leipold, in denying the request, stated “Ah, if wishing would only make it so.”
No shit Sherlock. You know what I wish: I wish that Sallie Mae wouldn’t call me every month asking “Where my money bitch” like Stewie from Family Guy. I wish law schools wouldn’t count the cast of The Bottom Rung as fully employed attorneys. I wish Bitter Lawyer’s Law School Kill List was real. But mainly, I wish law schools would stop being in denial.
I along with every law student who has graduated within the past 3 years (and those soon to graduate) understand that the legal job market sucks. Moreover, we understand that the legal economy (and actual economy) has changed within the past five years. Firms outsource the shitty aspects of the legal profession (doc review) and firms don’t want highly paid associates sitting around with nothing to do. Firms now understand that associates will slave away for a paycheck no matter how much work is placed upon them because it is likely a better job than the rest of their graduating class. The thought of hiring additional graduates to complete the same amount of work that is already being done does not make economic sense.
Here’s what’s crazy about all of this: While law students have accepted this, law schools are in denial. We understand that in order to get a job in this market you have to earn it. Truth be told, I am of the belief that earning a job is the right way to do it. We understand that we are making an odd decision to start out our careers $100k in debt. But that doesn’t mean that law schools cannot help in this process. If schools would stop “wishing” on the job market and start working on better preparing students then maybe those employment numbers would begin to rise. Instead of continuously asking alumni for donations, why not ask them to attend a networking event for current/recent law students. As our sister website Lawyerist repeatedly points out, networking and building relationships are the most important aspects of being successful in this career.
Instead, law schools continue to use an antiquated system that views students as moneybags. As Leipold suggests, “the legal industry needs to complete the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance — to truly come to terms with the changed job market.” I suggest that the legal industry stop taking crazy pills. These schools spent three years teaching us how to perfect our bullshitting, and, as everyone knows, you can’t bullshit a bullshitter.[Thanks to Erin Fuchs via Facebook.]
Post image from Shutterstock.