I know that I am not rationally thinking this out, someone please respectfully tell me my reasoning is off:
2011 marks the beginning of "baby-boomer" retirees. Although I couldn't get the figure on the # of lawyers here, around 10,000 "boomers" will retire daily
in the US for the next 1-2 decades.
My state, Texas, (the bar) claims roughly 75,000 practicing attorneys. Roughly one third of these lawyers are in the category of "practicing more than 25 years" This is the largest category, and adding in attorneys over 20 years, brings the number closer to half. The median number of years practicing is 18!
I understand that biglaw is extremely hard to get, and especially to keep very long. However, I have only ever been interested in public service, I mean, isn't a large portion of the complaints about the long-lost days of a 100,000+ salary and partner/firm issues? The article cites
New York Times, Is Law School A Losing Game? wrote:In reality, and based on every other source of information, Mr. Wallerstein and a generation of J.D.’s face the grimmest job market in decades. Since 2008, some 15,000 attorney and legal-staff jobs at large firms have vanished, according to a Northwestern Law study. Associates have been laid off, partners nudged out the door and recruitment programs have been scaled back or eliminated.
If the population is rising, and criminal justice related work cannot be outsourced, how is public service affected? I guess I could believe it is more competitive given the higher number of lawyers seeking employment. But add in the fact that I'll be going for a certificate (or program) directly in trial advocacy/criminal law along with the fact that I don't necessarily
care which of the 254 counties I start in. Also I know even before I get in to school that future networking is geared towards the area of law.
As far as the debt itself, my top choice right now is roughly 18,000/yr (not counting any potential scholy) for tuition and the cost of living is only 75% of the national average. My second choice is only 9,500/yr for tuition and fees, and is still less than the national average for cost of living. I understand $43,000 (one figure the article gave) by three years, plus factoring atrocious living costs like in New York, or parts of California is the reason for "250,000" debt or even 150,000... What if tuition books and fees were 20,000 and living was another 10? I'd get out around 90K (less if my parents are going to help out) with a certificate in exactly what I want to do, in a market that has a reasonably high rate of retirement (the above biggest category above would be >29 yrs by the time I'm out). As an additional minor point, add in again the 10 year public service debt plan, and income based repayment.
Although I don't know my class rank or intern/externship situation now (but assuming I remain 100% committed to criminal law)....is law school a losing game for me just as it was for the people in the NYT article?
I try not to make assumptions, as I have put in as many real stats as possible, what am I missing?
Texas stats: http://www.texasbar.com/AM/Template.cfm ... ntID=11230