Thursday, April 05, 2012

Time Magazine, April 9, 2012, Monday

Time Magazine

April 9, 2012, Monday

Time Magazine

Is becoming a lawyer a bad investment?

As Linda Barrington, managing director of the Institute for Compensation Studies at Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, puts it, "When this recession hit, the supply of lawyers shifts out because more people want to go to law school to avoid the recession." When these lawyers eventually reach the market, though, they depress wages. So law-school applications retreat until demand shifts out, and the cycle repeats.

The problem for lawyers today is that they are in really deep shift. "You don't want to be in the last group of students who sort of say, 'Look at how much money you make. Let's go to law school,'" says Kevin Hallock, another Cornell labor economist. That's where the current group stands. The retrenching of Wall Street has severely dented demand for lawyers. There may even be a structural shift underway, as technology replaces legal talent. You don't need a lawyer at $2oo an hour to read through 1o,ooo e-mails when software can find what you need in 10 seconds.