From TaxProf Blog: (click for full article)
July is the cruelest month for recent law school graduates. State bar exams next week are make-or-break affairs, determining how many will be allowed to practice law. Those exams once set a graduate on the path to a lifelong career. Not anymore. A huge number of new graduates, if lucky enough to find work, will not be employed in legal jobs that require passing the bar.
Only 55% of 43,735 graduates in 2011 had a law-related job nine months after graduation, said William Henderson of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, who analyzed recent data from the ABA. 28% were unemployed or underemployed. And at the 20 law schools with the highest employment, 83% of graduates were working as lawyers. At the bottom 20, it was a dismal 31%.
These numbers are far worse than jobs data going back a generation and should be a deep embarrassment to law schools, which have been churning out more graduates than the economy can employ, indulging themselves in copious revenues that higher tuitions and bigger classes bring in. A growing list of deans acknowledge that legal education is facing an existential crisis, but the transformation to a more sustainable model will be difficult and messy. ... Law schools will be crushed if they don’t remake themselves, said Frank Wu, dean of Hastings College of the Law at the University of California in San Francisco. “This is Detroit in the 1970s: change or die.”