...a second recession looms.
Ok, first off, if you took macroeconomics 101 you should know that just saying this makes it true so please stop saying it. Ugh...this is why our economy is doing badly...it's made up of a bunch of greedy, self-absorbed assholes who don't know what they're talking about.
Second, I may be stuck in my ivory tower, but what ever happened to going to school for the sake of learning? I go to law school because I like to learn. Yes, I like it so much I would rather spend $200,000 on law school than on 100 cruises to the Caribbean. Being a student is what makes me happy and what I'm interested in studying is law.
No one wants to end up sitting in a dungeon doing doc review, but I suspect that a lot of those people are tied to their particular metropolitan areas because of marriage/children/family. Most of us are young and can move around. So, get your ass up and check out other parts of the country.
has the 3rd fastest growing/healthy economy in the country, a 7% unemployment rate, and projections only foresee future growth. Lawyers can fill jobs in unconventional positions such as Native American/Tribal Law, Energy Law, or Natural Resources Law. Alaska also has to import all of its lawyers from the lower 48 because it does not have its own law school. It is tied for the 3rd (with Delaware) least-competitive legal job market in the country. Wyoming
has the 2nd fastest growing/healthy economy in the country, a 6% unemployment rate, and a $0 corporate tax rate (and is thus becoming an increasingly attractive area for employers). There are only 2.6 lawyers per 1,000 people in Wyoming (compare 8 lawyers per 1,000 people in New York) making the legal market fairly ripe. The average attorney in Wyoming makes just a bit under $100,000 annually but the cost of living is much lower than the big market areas like New York or DC. It is the 9th least competitive legal job market in the country.North Dakota
has the fastest growing/healthiest economy in the country, a 3% unemployment rate, and has the 6th least-competitive legal job market in the country.Nebraska
has the 5th fastest growing/healthiest economy in the country, a 4% unemployment rate, and has the least-competitive legal job market in the country. Less people pass the Nebraska Bar each year than are required to fill the legal positions that open up every year in the state. Nebraska is the only
state without a "lawyer surplus".Vermont
has the 21st fastest growing/healthiest economy in the country, a 5% unemployment rate, and has the 2nd least competitive legal job market in the country.
Wouldn't you rather be out on an Alaskan glacier or skiing in Vermont than doing doc review in a crowded office in New York? I would.
As for money, loan repayment isn't as scary as everyone says it is. Everyone has bills they pay every month, this is just another one. If you choose an IBR (Income-Based Repayment Plan), make $40,000 a year, have a fixed interest rate of 7.9%, and have $200,000 in loans, your monthly payment is just under $300. The above calculation is a "worst case scenario" as many of us will not take out that much in loans, will have Stafford loans with a lower interest rate, and/or will make a higher salary than $40K. Some of you may not believe me, but this is really
enough money to live comfortably on, especially if you live in one of the above states because their costs of living are relatively low. Personally, I'd rather have a full-time legal job in Nebraska than a doc review job in New York, and the former will pay better, too.
The only way to get by without wanting to kill yourself in this market is to stop being so greedy, start figuring out what your passions are (they should
be law), and start opening up your mind to possibilities that you haven't reconsidered before. If you're constantly vying for a Cravath associateship and/or that $160,000+ salary, you're more likely to end up in one of these temp dungeons because you don't have room for the creativity and open-mindedness it takes to get a job in this economy that will actually make you happy.