Law Schools

Are Students Switching Career Interest from Business to Law?

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Will the economic downturn drive more business and finance students to law school as they wait out the poor job market?

Princeton University senior Kenton Murray tells the New York Times that many of his fellow students hoping for finance careers are now thinking about law school. “Everyone I know is studying for the LSATs right now, people who a month ago had no intention of ever going to law school,” Murray said.

The story tells of Wall Street recruiters canceling or postponing visits to Princeton and other elite universities, and says financial companies eliminated 150,000 jobs last year and 100,000 so far this year.

Traditionally, law school applications have soared when the economy turns sour. But it’s too soon to see any evidence of students jolted by the recent economic problems flocking to apply to law schools, says Wendy Margolis, director of communications for the Law School Admission Council.

Margolis tells she has heard some anecdotal stories that more students are considering law school for 2009, “but until we see an uptick in registrations or applicants, we really can’t say there’s any evidence.”

Registrations for the Law School Admission Test scheduled for October are up about 3.5 percent, but Margolis expects the number to drop slightly when actual test-takers are counted. The increase is similar to last year’s hike in test registrations.

The real test of law school interest will come when the test is given in December, she says. Right now the December registration figures are too preliminary to discern any big increase.

“We’re slightly up in test registrants for December—that’s possibly where all of this would show up,” Margolis says. “People are just trying to figure out now what they want to do about the bad economy. If they are thinking about law school, they’d have to take the test in December to get in for 2009. Few law schools take February test scores.”

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