Law Prof Sees 'Huge Opportunity' in Labor Projections Highlighting Law Grad Oversupply

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The number of lawyer jobs in the decade ending in 2020 is expected grow by about 10 percent, but competition for jobs will still be strong, according to the latest employment outlook by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

By 2020, the number of lawyer jobs in the United States is expected to reach 801,800, a gain of 73,600 since 2010, according to the bureau. The Legal Whiteboard notes the outlook and points out the problem: About 45,000 students graduate from law schools each year.

The Legal Whiteboard post by Indiana University law professor William Henderson sees three ways to “unwind lawyer overproduction.” The U.S. Department of Education could curtail funding for law student loans. Some schools could go into a “death spiral” because of new ABA transparency requirements. And law schools could make their degrees “more versatile and valuable so graduates become more competitive for professional jobs outside traditional legal services.”

“Call me crazy,” Henderson writes, “but I think No. 3 is actually a huge opportunity for a law school with the right leadership and the right mix of faculty. I am currently in the process of sketching out a blueprint anyone will be free to use or make fun of.”

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