Thursday, September 10, 2009

Grads of Non-Elite Law Schools May Not Face the Greatest Difficulties

Professor Peter L. Reich (Whittier) takes issue with our earlier post on the job market:

Re "A Difficult Job Market" (Law School Reports, 8/27), I disagree that the greatest problems for new law graduates are faced by those from non-elite law schools.  At Whittier, our grads do not expect to receive $160K to start, although some obtain this.  Rather, they have been finding employment recently in a variety of public offices and small-to-medium sized firms; places that do not give any special preference to J.D.s from Harvard, etc.  At least in California, the largest contraction has been suffered by the name firms, even though all have downsized to some extent.  People will always need D.A.s, public defenders, county counsel, and general business litigators.  According to the next-to-latest ABA Journal, there are a number of growth areas, including my own specialty of environmental law, wherein Whittier has a number of successful alumni.  What may happen after the latest economic shakeup (if I may offer my own bit of speculation) is that, similarly to what has occurred with medical doctors, students seeking extraordinarily high incomes will look to other careers than law, leaving it to dedicated public servants and comfortably but not exorbitantly paid practitioners who serve a wide range of clients.

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