Bleak Job Market and High Debt Isn’t Deterring Would-Be Law School Applicants, Survey Says
Overconfidence and a sustained belief in the intrinsic value of a law degree are two reasons why prospective law students remain undaunted by potential six-figure debt and the high unemployment rates of recent law school graduates. Only four percent of potential law school applicants polled said they’d scrap law school plans if a significant number of law school graduates were unable to find jobs in their desired field, according to a survey by Veritas, a law school admission consulting firm, the National Law Journal reports. Eighty-one percent said they were undeterred by grim unemployment outlooks.
“I think there could be one of two things that are leading factors in explaining this paradox,” said Veritas Chief Executive Officer Chad Troutwine, according to the NLJ. “It could be the idea that there is still a perceived value in the legal education one gets at law school. That’s different from why people go to business school, which is to increase their chance of financial success.”
Troutwine also attributed the “well-known American affliction of overconfidence” to the continued tide of applicants. According to the survey, that overconfidence also flows into potential post-graduate compensation. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they expected to earn between $100,000 and $145,000, while 44 percent expected salaries between $75,000 to $100,000. The remaining 11 percent aimed to earn more than $145,000.
In contrast, the latest new lawyer salary data from NALP shows that 34 percent of reported salaries fell between $40,000 and $65,000 for the class of 2009, far below the respondent’s expectations.