Yeah about as stupid as your suggestion that we go become $15/hour plumbers.
I don't find that suggestion stupid in the least. Here's an assignment: pick up your local Yellow Pages and count the number of licensed plumbers vs. the number of lawyers. Nothing like a good refresher course on the law of supply & demand.
Also understand that, even at $15 an hour as an apprentice, you're at least making money and learning what you'll need to know to practice the trade on your own from someone who actually knows that they're doing. Compare this to law school, where you pay 45 K a year to learn nothing from people who have never actually practiced what they preach.
Understand that the reason there are so few LICENSED plumbers is that many apprentices simply lack the intellectual ability to pass the licensing exam. The exam tests things like business regs, reading blueprints, basic math/algebra, septic & environmental regs, etc. The typical plumber's apprentice with a GED or high school diploma simply won't have the ability to pass the test. This is borne out by the VERY high failure rate on the exam- only about 20% of takers pass the damn thing. AS someone who already holds a college degree, the test itself should present no problem.
Also understand that, rather than formal education, most states require a 3 or 4 year full-time apprenticeship before you can sit the test. You hours must be signed off & sworn to by your employer(s). This excellent idea is also how law was once taught before the ABA and student loan cartel took over the industry and required the nonsensical piece of toilet paper called a JD to sit the bar'zam.
The average licensed plumber handily outearns the average licensed lawyer. It's not even close. Here in NJ most plumbers charge $90 an hour plus a $50 service call fee. If they have to come out at night it's an extra $150 or so. There are also lots of upgrades going on re: furnaces and boilers etc because of the green tax credit you get for installing these new systems.
The difference is that the plumber can actually find enough customers to bill for 40, 50 or 60+ hours a week. If a pipe bursts at 2 am he has you by the balls- you either call him out and pay or have your house flooded. When is it ever urgent to hire a shitlawyer? Answer: almost never.
Also bear in mind there are no "pro bono" or public service plumbers. In fact, the law is the only industry so utterly in love with giving away professional services for free to deadbeats.
So in closing, anyone headed to a non Top 14 with scholly should really give the trades like plumbing, HVAC, electrical work etc a hard look. There's far less saturation and much more $$$$ than scrounging for table scraps, which is what you'll be doing if you miss the Biglaw/OCI boat.
Also if a plumbing business goes south, the loans etc can be discharged in bankruptcy. Not so for student loans. Get a JD and no job and you're stuck paying regardless. Also a lot of customers might pay cash, which of course is $$$ right in your pocket.
Try as you guys might, there simply is no way to put any positive spin on non-Biglaw practice. Hours are long, wages abysmal, and jobs beyond scarce. Not only that, things have every chance of getting much worse and almost no chance of getting better. Not to mention all the other red tape and aggrevation of CLE classes, bar dues, trust account audits, and other pointless garbage in this sorry gutter of an industry.