You are probably trolling but I'll give it a shot:
1) This study is the unemployment rate for lawyers. Since many of the people who don't get jobs don't become lawyers or leave the profession after a few year, it's missing a huge part of the denominator and thus is only going to measure the folks between jobs. The proper statistic is employment among JDs.
2) The data you are relying on is irrelevant. Those lawyers with 20 years experience didn't graduate into a market with twice as many JDs as total job openings (that includes temp and part-time work). They didn't graduate with 200K of debt like you'll be doing if you go to GW, or even 100+K like you'll be doing at W+M. And your assumption that the market will come back is unwarranted. You are using a single statistic and trying to generalize across a very diverse industry of which the entry-level job market is only a small facet. As to your belief that this is cyclical, at this point, you don't have enough information to tell if the market will jump back. If the best you can do is "uncertain" it is not a good idea to take out that amount of certain debt for the schools you have listed, especially if you are able to get better acceptances/more money.
The more important statistic for you if you want to gauge the overall legal market is this: there are 45,000 JDs graduated annually. There are 25,000 new job openings. Some of those include part-time, temp, and jobs filling by people ahead of you in the queue. Do the math.
3) As pointed out already, you have failed to apply a critical eye to information published by one of the worst actors in the mess that is legal education. While the fact that they are a gigantic diploma mill run blatantly for the profit of their top administrators doesn't dismiss what they say entirely, it calls into question your own rationality about this process.
If you won't listen to the posters ITT and retake, please negotiate for more money. GW is giving insane amounts of money to people off the waitlist. They will probably bump your scholarship and if not do you really want to be the kid who couldn't wrangle more money out of one of the most desperate schools in the country right now?
Well, I'm not trolling, I guess you'll just have to take my word on that though. First let me clear the air here. I copy pasted the wrong link after a quick search on google because someone requested the source of my post, the Cooley one I copied by accident. I was citing the Wall Street and the BLS, which I linked somewhere in my other replies.
Anyway, You are correct that the BLS does not collect data on discouraged workers who have a JD but decided to no longer seek employment as a lawyer. However let's break this down. Your number of 25,000 is a little low, I've read it could be as high or higher than 30,000 but let's meet just about half way and say 28,000 jobs are available for 45,000 students. That means we're looking at 17,000 graduates who are unemployed. For arguments sake, I'll generously assume every student who graduated is immediately seeking employment as a lawyer (no one furthering their education with an LLM, people who wanted to enter a different field or what have you). The market crashed in 2008, this isn't a development that just happened last week, and the market has been pretty flat ever since. So we should be seeing a surplus of 17,000 graduates who can't get a job every year. Take this times the last 4 years and we get 68,000 JD grads who can't get a job.
Currently we have 728,200 lawyers employed in the US. 68,000 divided by 728,200 gives us an unemployment rate of 9.33 percent. The natural rate of unemployment for lawyers should be at least one and a half percent. That means the total unemployment rate, if that many lawyers were not finding jobs should be 10.8%. However, the BLS reports that the number is roughly 2 percent. For your position to be correct, you are saying that 8% of the market is composed of discouraged lawyers who completely gave up looking for a job as an attorney. 8 percent of 728,200 is 58,256.
Therefore you're telling me of the alleged 68,000 recent graduates who could not find employment, all but 10,000 of them completely gave up trying to be lawyers? I know I made some gross assumptions here but I gotta be in the ball park and honestly I think this number is a little low... that means 85.6 percent gave up looking for employment as a lawyer? If it came out to 5 or 10 percent, I'd find it more believable.
But okay I'll bite, even if nearly 9 our of 10 unemployed JD grads stopped seeking employment as a lawyer, I'm going to a decently ranked school. Let's say the jobs were disturbed by school rank and class rank. Theres maybe 12,000 students ahead of me if I was last in my class at William & Mary. If the market has 28,000 jobs available. Looks like I'm making the cut. I know that's a gross assumption as well but it's not like WM is a tier 4 school is my point.
I don't know, I'm typing this on the fly but I'll be here all night feel free to shoot holes in it.
Why is it so hard to believe that so many graduates would give up trying to be lawyers when they have massive student loans coming due 6 months after graduation?
25,000 is a high number because we don't know how many of those jobs are entry-level. Those are just total job openings.
It is irrelevant how many lawyers are employed in the country overall. That measures ancient history. The only thing relevant is what the market looks like for young lawyers, because if you don't get a job within the first couple years out it is unlikely you will ever get a job as a lawyer. The statistics posited by the school do not tell a very good tale. When you add that to all the debt you will be incurring it does not look good.
The legal hiring market is not a single-file line where you line up by grades and school rank. Someone who is top 10% at Catholic is probably going to get a job over median at W+M. Someone at the bottom of the class at Catholic whose parent owns a firm is going to get a job over median at W+M.
Assume you graduate median.
First, not all of those 28,000 (much less than that) jobs will be available to you. Your W+M degree has limited portability.
Second, you will not qualify for many of those jobs if you are median (biglaw, fed gov, PI, probably state gov, and federal clerkships are out).
Third, hiring is not a single-file line. Someone with top 10% grades at Catholic will beat out median at W+M. Someone with bottom 10% grades who's dad owns a firm will beat out median W+M.
Fourth, consider how many schools feed into the area your school has reach and their class sizes. Hint, it's a lot. Many more law students want to work in the states where W+M feeds most of it's graduates and there is an oversupply of law schools, just like in most major metro areas.
You can look at the overall numbers of lawyers in the country, the overall legal unemployment rate, or the total number of entry-level jobs. These are really flawed metrics. The better question is, what are my chances of finding a decent legal job out of W+M, assuming median, in three years, and is it worth 120K in debt? People are telling you no, it's not worth it, based on much deeper knowledge of the legal hiring market than you have, and you are firing back with general numbers and back of the envelope calculations.
Here's some better numbers. --LinkRemoved--
LST is even overly generous. In sum, your most-likely bet out of W+M is a job with a small firm or local government, making between 40-50K. That's the most likely outcome, which is what you should assume. Is that worth 120K in debt to you? How will you make the payments on that much debt?
Maybe you can explain exactly why, in an emotional/psychological sense, you want to go to law school right now. Is there some external influence pressuring you?