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Ann Levine Asks: Are There Too Many Law Students?

Today on the LSAT blog: a guest post by Law School Expert Ann Levine, the former director of admissions for two ABA-approved law schools and the author of The Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert and The Law School Decision Game: A Playbook for Prospective Lawyers.

In 2008-2009, as the economy tanked, people applied to law school in droves, hoping to wait out what they believed would be a temporary crisis. But it’s 2013, and law school applications have been dropping significantly — with good reason. Law school is a big investment, and depending on where you go to law school, the payoff is far from guaranteed.

And, as of today, student loan rates are set to increase in the coming years. Now, when I graduated from law school, I paid more than 8% interest, but on a much lower total debt amount than most law school graduates have today. This is something you need to know before you take on student loans, especially if you already have student loans from college or a graduate program.

Your ability to pay back these loans is crucial. Here is a video which focuses on UC Hastings Law School, stating that only 50% of its graduates are working full-time as lawyers immediately after passing the California Bar exam.

The Dean at UC Hastings says in this video that they are cutting their incoming class by 25% as a result, and that while we still need lawyers, we don’t need so darn many of them. See also: The Real Problem With Law Schools: Too Many Lawyers.

With news like this, who should go to law school?

People who really, truly want to be lawyers, know what they are getting themselves into, have the academic ability to succeed in law school, who are willing to exhibit the business and networking skills to build careers, and who can afford to go to law school.

Now, you may be wondering why a law school admission consultant is trying to talk people out of law school. It’s because I want to help people reach their goals who have a shot at actually attaining those goals. I want to position successful people to be successful in their careers, whether they want to start a family law practice in their hometown or join BigLaw or work for the government or any other possibility that follows from having a law degree. I want those individuals to be in a position to maximize their opportunities for success, and to know what they are getting themselves into before starting law school so that they have no regrets later.

Luckily, there’s some good news. A recent article in The Business Journal suggests there is an uptick in employment and salary trends for the class of 2012 with a continuation in that trend for the class of 2013 and beyond.

If the decision about whether to go to law school is weighing on your mind (as it should be!), here are some must-reads:
Failing Law Schools
Is Law School Worth the Investment
The Law School Decision Game (A book I wrote after interviewing nearly 300 lawyers about their decisions and careers.)

Also, Listen to these podcasts:
Is Law School Worth the Sacrifice
Should I Go To Law School

Enter to win a free copy of Ann Levine’s new book in the latest caption contest on the LSAT blog.