3 Reasons Not To Become A Lawyer Right Now

The possibility of becoming a lawyer first began to appeal to me as a kid. I had some older relatives who’d entered the field (becoming judges, professors, and government ministers) and their example inspired me. I looked up to them and wanted to be like them. If you’d asked me 5 years ago where I saw myself in a future career, law would most certainly have been my firm answer.


That was then, this is now. As I’ve grown older and a bit wiser, I’ve come to see the pitfalls associated with the career I had once unquestionably chosen. I originally planned to be in law school as we speak. As of now, I’ve delayed the beginning of that process for a while as I work and see where the industry heads. I may ultimately decide not to bother at all.

My decision to delay was not made lightly, but I feel it was made correctly and should be considered by other young men with a potential legal career on their minds. Here are three reasons why one should be hesitant to become a lawyer right now.

1. There are too many lawyers


Society does need lawyers. It is, however, entirely possible to have too many of them. What does that look like? We’re finding out right now:

Barely half of all 2012 law school graduates had full time, long-term legal jobs as of Feb. 15, according to employment outcome data released Friday by the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

Only a slight majority of law school graduates in 2012 managed to secure full time legal jobs, and you can bet that only a fraction of those managed to secure full time legal jobs that paid relatively well. Put quite frankly, there are more graduates coming out of law schools than the market can take. We have dozens upon dozens of accredited law schools who each pump out hundreds of graduates annually, but can’t for the life of them produce a sizable number who can pass the bar and hold down a full time legal job. This reality is being corrected to some degree as law school enrollments drop, but even now the fact remains that there are just too damn many law students (and law schools, for that matter).

This sobering reality becomes particularly relevant when you consider the second item on my list…

2. Law school is expensive

Let’s say you were an aspiring law student in the year 1982. You’ve got great numbers and managed to gain admission to the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, a highly ranked Ivy League institution. Let’s say you pay the sticker price (no scholarships or financial aid) for Penn during your 3 years there.


Your sticker price (tuition, board, fees, etc) for the full 3 years would likely amount to about $40,000 (give or take a couple thousand) by the time you left in 1984. That’s $89,000 of debt in 2013 after adjusting for inflation.

Now, let’s fast forward to 2010 and look at another individual with a dream of becoming a lawyer. This modern aspiring law student also wants to go to UPenn Law. He will also be getting no scholarships or financial aid. What will his bill come up to at the end of his 3 year stint in Philadelphia?

Law, the J.D. program:
Tuition: $45,430
General Fee: $2,152
Technology Fee: $780
Average room rate in the University’s residence halls: $7,248
Average meal plan: $4,182

Law, the J.D. program:
Tuition: $47,600
General Fee: $2,318
Technology Fee: $800
Average room rate in the University’s residence halls: $7,592
Average meal plan: $4,286

Law, the J.D. program:
Tuition: $49,900
General Fee: $2,408
Technology Fee: $830
Average room rate in the University’s residence halls: $7,952
Average meal plan: $4,416

Total (give or take a couple thousand): $186,000


He’ll leave law school with a bill more than twice the size of his early 80’s counterpart. He’ll have twice the debt burden to contend with and (as my next point will make clear) he’ll enter a market in a condition that isn’t too conducive to helping him eliminate that debt quickly.

3. The impact of the financial crisis persists

During the boom times in the early/mid 2000’s, legal hiring was in a very different place. “Biglaw” (high paying major firm job) placement rates at even less prestigious, non “Top-14”, regional schools often approached 25% or more. Big firms had expanded the size of their associate pool significantly during that time period and it looked like such expansion might continue.


Recent evidence has shown us that it won’t. The legal industry is in a transition now, and the “new normal” is not going to be a pretty picture:

Last week, the National Associate for Law Placement announced that large law firms of more than 500 lawyers hired 3,600 new associates in 2012 — more than in 2011 but still far below the 5,100 new hires in 2009. Some students at top-20 law schools aren’t getting big-firm jobs that were once automatic for most of their predecessors. The overall market is even more dismal. In 2012, law schools graduated a record number of new lawyers — more than 46,000. About half of them got long-term, full-time jobs requiring a legal degree.


Is BigLaw going to go extinct? Probably not, but your chances of getting to it as a typical law student have declined significantly within the last few years. Bonuses at top firms have declined in that time as salaries have remained flat, meaning that even if you do manage to squeak into one of the remaining BigLaw jobs (and survive the brutal hours associated with them), you won’t be compensated as well for doing so. That sucks, because chances are you’ll be carrying a large debt monkey on your back in the process.

These new realities challenge old motivations for attending law school, motivations based on an old vision of the legal profession and its ability to provide a certain status to those who chose to enter it:

For generations, the law functioned as a kind of psychological safety net for the ambitious and upwardly mobile. If you wanted to be a writer or an actor or a businessman, you could rest assured that law school would be there if your plans fell through. However much you’d maxed out your credit card, however late you were on your rent, you were never more than an admissions test and six semesters away from upper-middle-class respectability.


The above is no longer a given thanks to the changes I mentioned above. If you’ve read this and still think you may have a legal career in your future, make sure you comprehend these changes fully. They’re not temporary.

Read Next: 5 Reasons Being A Lawyer Sucks

134 thoughts on “3 Reasons Not To Become A Lawyer Right Now”

  1. Feminism definitely played its part: legally blonde was the blue-print for a generation of idiots aspiring to be lawyers.

  2. It is because most Americans avoid any STEM field like the plague that we have this gluttony of law school students.

    1. Law school is the place where all the people that suck at math go, which is how we end up with a bunch of laws that make no Earthly sense from a numbers standpoint.

      1. I’m certain Americans could be very strong in those fields if it were not endorsed culturally to be mathematically and scientifically illiterate. You can credit feminism with that as well since they are such strong proponents of the qualitative arts in lieu of more concrete disciplines.

        1. Take out the test loading done by China (and many other non-European countries) by shooing away the poorly performing students. Now the US moves up nicely.
          Take out the 8 states with the poorest public schools, and the US is right near the top.
          That’s not feminism, that’s just test manipulation by many countries and 8 states with shit schools.

        2. Minorities, agreed, but I can’t blame the international test score gaming on feminism. Commies, et al, yes.
          Stupid test givers LET the East manipulate test scores. There’s a reason the Chinese kick out all the poorly performing students and only let the group publish the results of one province.

        3. I’ve lived in Korea. Education is preeminently important in their culture compared to ours. European countries are also not manipulating the data and Americans are competing with them as well so data manipulation doesn’t really make for a resounding argument.

        4. True. But it is also true that no Black or South American Country earns a respectable score. Those beasts make up 16% and 13% of the US population. Meanwhile Japan, the single most homogeneous country on Earth, Skull fucks all others when it comes to Science literacy.
          But ah…. yea… “Diversity is Strength”. Having an illegal alien and an absconded farm animal in the classroom enriches all students.

        5. How is Russia, Ukraine and the whitest nations of east europe doing again in the economy? Didn’t they collapse? Why didn’t their whitenessand homogenity save them.
          Yeah because Uruguay and Argentina are such economic powerhouses. The irony is the few white students who are good math, usually male and immigrants aren’t going to get a stem job because people like bill gates and zuckerberger would rather hire a chinese or indian programmer at the fraction of the price.

        6. Did you called? Yes, Argentina is going up, and now you can legally light a joint with your cop buddy in Uruguay. Suck it, ‘mericun.

        7. Lol, I am whiter than you. Russia isn’t diverse along with the rest of east european nations like belarus its amongst the biggest poorest shit hole on the planet.
          Racial superiority is stupid, and the shit holes of economically collapsed Eastern europe is worse than most of s.american and africa.

        8. You have been working extra hard to stir up racist sentiments. Fail. Dozens of comments, vitriol and bile, to what end? What’s your ROI? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to meet with a shrink?

        9. Not true, but i get your point. Actually, Finland is at the top of the list when it comes to math and science.

        10. You have been working extra hard to stir up racist sentiments. Fail. Dozens of comments, vitriol and bile, to what end? What’s your ROI? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to meet with a shrink?

        11. America benefits from a brain gain not available to other countries. This brain gain is temporary… we now have a reverse brain drain to Asia and Africa. Please read the following, based on U.S. Census data, and explain how this is a race problem and not a social problem:
          “Educational attainment
          African immigrants to the U.S. are among the most educated groups in the United States. Some 48.9 percent of all African immigrants hold a college diploma. This is more than double the rate of native-born white Americans, and nearly four times the rate of native-born African Americans.[15] According to the 2000 Census, the rate of college diploma acquisition is highest among Egyptian Americans at 59.7 percent, followed closely by Nigerian Americans at 58.6 percent.[16][17]
          In 1997, 19.4 percent of all adult African immigrants in the United States held a graduate degree, compared to 8.1 percent of adult white Americans and 3.8 percent of adult black Americans in the United States, respectively.[18] According to the 2000 Census, the percentage of Africans with a graduate degree is highest among Nigerian Americans at 28.3 percent, followed by Egyptian Americans at 23.8 percent.[16][17]
          Of the African-born population in the United States age 25 and older, 87.9% reported having a high school degree or higher,[19] compared with 78.8% of Asian-born immigrants and 76.8% of European-born immigrants, respectively.[20] Africans from Kenya (90.8 percent), Nigeria (89.1 percent), Ghana (85.9 percent), Botswana (84.7 percent), and Malawi (83 percent) were the most likely to report having a high school degree or higher.
          Immigrants & Foreign-born
          Educational attainment rates change when it comes to comparing the same races against immigrants or foreign born students. Black African and Caribbean immigrant groups to the U.S report having higher levels of education than any other group.[63] Of all foreign-born U.S. residents, foreign born Africans (those who come from the African continent) nowadays have a higher level of educational attainment than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States.[64][65] They tend to be highly educated and be fluent in English. This trend was first reported in the 1990s’ by the Journal of blacks in Higher Education and still continues today.[65][65]
          According to the U.S census, “43.8 percent of African immigrants had achieved a college degree, compared with 42.5 of Asian Americans, 28.9 percent of immigrants from Europe, Russia and Canada and 23.1 percent of the U.S. population as a whole.”[66] The educational attainment amount varies by group. According to the U.S. Census, out of the African populations, Nigerians reported to having the highest level of education.

        12. One of the reasons the USA education sucks is silly high school sports specifically FOOTBALL. Recent article in the Atlantic magazine about this. Many schools spend more on high schools sports than teacher pay and academics. Asia and the countries who kick our asses academically have no high school sponsored sports.

        13. Ahh yes along the Thomas Sowell and Milton Friedman line of thought. Couldn’t agree more, it’s got far more to do with culture and the culture that is promoted in the USA and in much of the Anglo world due to cultural marxism, feminism,liberal propaganda, hipster culture as well as the other degenerates is that the USA did so well because it exploited rather than the truth which is it worked hard. Well have fun being exploited by the Chinese and Indian aristocracy.

        14. Yea yea. A bunch of immig’roids get BS degrees in Afro Studies paid for by Pell Grants.
          The most educated countries on this planet are the most homogeneous.
          If those Afros had value, the Greek and Italian navies would not be working over time to prevent their entry, Israel would not be rounding the beasts up for deportation and Australia would not be exiling “refugees” to Papua New Guinea.

        15. The only white country I see on their is UK, and if you knew anything about the UK you wouldn’t put it on the list. London was the first city that I walked down the street when I started travelling and for 30 minutes and did not see another white person/non-black. The statistics show that white british students are amongst the poorest performing so much so that a globeandmail reporter wrote an article saying britain has an ethnic problem…. white brits!
          I can’t understand why a country like Hungary where frankly I never seen a black resident is lower than America with all its black and hispanic residents. By your logic it would mean that blacks and hispanics are superior to hungarian whites but inferior to austrian whites. I find that srange only because Austria and Hungary where the same country for such a long period. Your theory is not even supported by your own faulty graph that is just OECD, it doesn’t include many asian or african or carribean and latin nations.
          If there were no hispanics in America half of Americas south western states would still be in Mexico because America would have lacked the population to take it in war. Then you’d have about a trillion dollars leave the economy and go back to mexico. Since hispanics are going to be the majority of the youth there’d be no one to pay your sociacl security or healthcare cost, you’d have to immediately start paying higher taxes to offeset the cost of healthcare. The price of food would increase because no one in america is going to pick food for $7 an hour but an illegal. You think food is expensive now, wait until you have to pay someone $25 an hour to pick oranges. The places that tried to crackdown on illegals have their economies suffer, falling rents, decline in customers etc.
          If there were no blacks in America it basically wouldn’t exist. While Christopher Colombus was indeed white, the pilot of the ship and navigator Pedro Alonzo Nino was a black man and he actually saved colombus life when they wanted to throw him overboard. Nevermind that most of Early america was built by black people (and the irish) because the rest of the groups didn’t want to do the hard and dangerous manual labour. 1 in 4 settlers died of xposure another 1 in 4 died of starvation with in 5 years of arrival, this is why the major waves of immigration to america occur largelt after the mid 1800s after the nation was largely built up by the irish and blacks. Even the whitehouse was built by black people. It was not easy and there was not alot of money floating around in early america, if you couldn’t find a job you just went homeless and died of exposure or starvation, many europeans were not willing to line up for that. its no mistake that the first female millionaire in america was a black woman or that there were more millionaires in Mississippi than the rest of the world combine.
          If the African americans were to go back they’d take their 1.5 trillion in yearly purchasing with them and become the 2nd or third largest purchasing block in the world.
          Frankly one has to question the sanity of someone who thinks eliminating 2.5 trillion in economic activity. Never mind the richest man in the world is a hispanic, it would be devastaing to the economy including whit e people. You might be surprised, the place where you work might even be owned by arabs.

        16. Very true. London has a huge foreign-born population and a large number of the native-born Londoners are blacks from the Caribbean and Africa, and Asians from India and Pakistan.
          London is 33% foreign-born; 20% Asian; 15% black; 5% mixed. Anyone who thinks the UK’s top performers are only white has never been there.

        17. Agreed, the world has changed, unless your dad is bill gates or your one of the few people lucky enough to be from a rich (white family) race no longer confers the same kind of benefits it once did. People today are now more than ever going to be judged on their actions, personality and attitudes. Your race is at best a minor factor.
          Soon people will not be able to rely on the clutch of race to explain their failure or success.

        18. Disagree, have actually seen how most people in Africa actually live? Compared to most nations in Africa even the poorest CIS Country is a paradise.

        19. Disagree, In the USA we have affirmative action, racial quotas for minorities.

        20. Yeah, especially whites, gi bill, homestead act, white female affirmative action in gender quotas, gay right quotas blah blah blah, whites are the biggest beneficiaries of affirmativer action

        21. White Females I agree, how are white men benefiting other then some possible tax breaks by large corporations?

        22. The 500 million on leaky rafts trying to get to Europe, and yes I have actually been to Africa so I have some understanding of the issue.

        23. Maybe but the public school monopoly is well funded yet many private schools do a far superior job at half the cost.

        24. Other than corporate welfare you mean? Well white men tend to be the ceo’s, b.o.d.’s most of upper management and the main beneficiaries of these government welfare programs handing out hundreds of trillions in government money to white workers, not to mention the banker bailouts to white run banks with mostly white employees, and same for the auto bailouts and the insurance bailouts. These are all white male affirmative action programs. And the gi bill and homesteaders act. White males have been the beneficiaries of more government welfare in american history than any other group. Even the fact we have standardized test and textbooks, all of which are written by and for white men with a white male bias. THe SAT was devised by white males. So of course it is biased to them.

      2. Law school, now, is for dumb and lazy mildly intelligent folks that want to be considered intellectuals.

    2. Disagree. We avoid allowing rank-and-file self-initiative to succeed; hence, government endorsed predation is the way to go, from the individual perspectdive. If we allowed losers to lose, any losers who should have done STEM but didn’t would not be around to ruin the average results, now would they?

    3. We used to encourage STEM. Engineers & Computer Science majors (as an example) were respected and well paid. Now they just hire your replacement on an H1-B and have you train them.
      What did society expect?

        1. Maybe we could export our lawyers to China and India. Goodness knows there’d be business for them there.

        2. Most of their engineers are shit, unless they trained in US schools. The ones that train in US schools quite often want to stay here.

    4. There is a not a shortage of American STEM majors. Companies hire from abroad to get better talent than they can get here.

      1. Then there is clearly a limited amount of value in hiring the domestic talent. Particularly since so many of the foreign students are coming to our graduate schools.

      2. There is a not a shortage of American STEM majors. Companies hire from abroad to get better talent than they can get here. because they’re PC cheapskates.

        1. You forgot the part where those guys are better than you. Cheaper, and better than you.

        2. Horse-puckey! I’ve dealt with Indian & Chinese trained STEMs. Good only for cookie cutter work (easy) and that’s the people that paid attention in their shit classes. The STEMs from those countries that train in the US are (often) incredibly diligent / competent.
          Of course the ones that train in the US demand the higher wages…

        3. Hardly. Google(Crypto-Jews) for a fascinating story and why the name Reuben is popular in certain Hispanic demographics.

        4. That is true, but that would be true of most programmers, including Americans, Israelis and the rest. I still think there is an edge to Western culture when we talk about imagination, but that does not mean that this edge is present on American “money money money first” work culture. Innovation does not come up in societies only worried about making a quick buck. It needs to be nurtured and protected. Innovators need to feel that they can add something to society besides dollars (that is not the reason why people innovate). Google was a kind of a miracle, pure innovation. Facebook is the real face of American start-ups: a tool made with existing technologies only winning on the market based on social class.
          We need more Googles, and less Harvard-privileged kids doing virtual models of social stratification, a reification that closes more doors than opens.

        5. And I thought that the company that made that garbage was Microsoft, and was located in the United States.

        6. Yes, but it is not the Indians that made the decision to make Vista, and is not the Indians that decide the characteristics of the system. They just work like monkeys on the orders given from above, from some guy that must have a Mac in his house.

    5. STEM fields result in jobs that are very poorly compensated commensurate to the intelligence and work that is required of them.

      1. Relative to what? The non-STEM majors I know are taking jobs that are well beneath their college degrees.

        1. In alot of places people in the non-stem fields with tips can OUTEARN their stem counterparts. My sister was going to become a ph.d scientist and then realized that she’d top out at 80k at 50 or so. Where she lives a teacher can make 90 grand, a principal 130k and sales drone of medical devices 100k. Why would she go into science when the field takes alotof hard work and offers little reward. Until chemist start making 100k, expect to see more smart americans flee the field. Scientific unlike tech jobs are a labour of love, you’ll never get rich or close to it as a scientist because a non-stem major will be your boss/ceo.

  3. Good post. All true; especially the part about the colossal debt burden many law students leave law school with today.

  4. law school is still worth it if you can get a significant scholarship. But paying stick price at a private school is almost 100% of the time not worth the burden it imposes.

  5. The problem with lawyers is we let them be politicians. Its like letting the fox guard the hen house.

  6. I’ve been a lawyer for 17 years and can tell you that you’re just scratching the surface. The legal industry in the U.S. is vastly inefficient (perhaps by design) and unbelievably corrupt. It is ripe for destruction in many respects and technology and access to information is going to continue to diminish the value of being a traditional lawyer. People can find out how to do a will or a lease on the internet without paying a lawyer. Much legal work is now being outsourced to places like india for tiny fractions of the costs in the U.S. Corporations increasingly are resistant to using lawyers to settle disputes because the lawyers have vested interest in the dispute being more protracted and complex than it really is (to increase their own fees). It’s not a field I would recommend anyone get into to now, but there will be enormous transformation of the industry in the next 10 to 20 years that some people will profit by. I truly believe the typical large law firm model that predominates in the big cites will not exist 20 years from now.

    1. This is what they get for being so greedy and so corrupt. So good riddance, they brought it upon themselves.

    2. I predict that BigLaw will survive in the future, but it won’t be as big as we’ve known it to be. A few legal powerhouse firms will maintain their strength, but at the lower end of the “BigLaw” spectrum I expect to see many firms contract, merge, or just plain disappear. Smaller firms outside of the “BigLaw” spectrum now may also get caught up in this phenomenon, getting sucked into stronger/larger firms, dying outright, or merging with one another to hold their own.
      That’s just my (relatively uneducated) guess. It is going to be an interesting 20 years.

  7. As someone who went to a top law school (Harvard, Yale, Stanford), being a lawyer is great. Job’s aplenty, large salaries, very good exit options. Don’t go to law school if you can’t get in a top 3. There are too many low-iq people going to law school. If you are smart and qualified, you’ll be in demand and have a pretty easy time securing a high paying job. 160k at 25 is not too shabby either.

    1. Biglaw can be very stressful and draining, and you have to put up with a lot of difficult personalities. And while the salary might be nice, when you account for how many hours you work, your hourly rate isn’t that high.

      1. True, it’s not a cake walk. Learning office politics and forming relationships with the best partners is just part of the learning curve. If you can hang and be savvy, you’ll be making 275k+ by the time you’re 30. Also, as a senior associate you have greater control over your schedule.

        1. You are correct about the control/money issues but being a senior associate is still awful. You no longer have any “buffers” for any screw-ups since you now report directly to partners; so the pressure is much more intense since you are now one of the people directly responsible for closing a deal, handling a matter, etc. (also, you can’t just simply zone out anymore on long boring conference calls!) Plus you still have to log long hours in a soulcrushing office environment with a bunch of assholes and faggots …

    2. Most people can’t get into those schools nor score that high on the lsat. I’m not sure if people who get into those schools are actually high iq, rather than just more clever in a certain regard. I knew a girl who did a degree in feminism and naturally got straight As as it is a fluff degree and did well on the lsat and went to Harvard. Can’t really say she was the brightest bulb, certainly smart and dedicated to the lsat, but high iq…. very iffy, not exactly the smartest person I ever met.

      1. LSATs are basically an IQ test. Yes there are smart people who believe in stupid things, but I’m sure she had a much higher IQ than you.
        And the reason she got straight As is because she has a high IQ. I’m sure taking woman’s studies made it easier, but anyone who has high enough IQ to get a non-AA Harvard LSAT score is going to be able to get straight As in undergrad in any non-math field

      2. I agree there were defiantly some people who studied religiously and had easy (feminism studies) majors, but I wouldn’t say it was representative of much of my classmates. Many went to top undergrads with competitive majors, and many are high iq people. Doing very well on the LSAT involves almost no luck. Many people fly under the radar while being extremely inteliigent.

    3. As someone else who went to law school at HYS, I completely disagree. 95% of my colleagues absolutely detest practicing law, and the more educated you are the more you’ll be unhappy with “biglaw,” i.e., the high-paying type of law. http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/do_elite_law_grads_disdain_longtime_biglaw_work_stats_suggest_lower-tier/
      This article doesn’t even touch on the main reasons not to be a lawyer, but the bottom line is this. If you’re the type of person into self-improvement and quality-of-life enough that you’re on this website, taking on a career where you’re sitting at a desk and sifting through mounds of paperwork for 12 hours/day is not the right choice.

    4. The issue is the work environment and the kind of people who tend to become lawyers, I think. I was in biglaw for several years before moving in-house, which is better because the environment, even though it’s a large F200 type place, is mostly not lawyers and it was relatively easy to transition into a non-legal role as a business exec. The smartest layer of lawyers (HYS) is certainly a smart group compared to the general population, but for the most part lawyers, even in this select group, are people who are risk-averse, non-entrepreneurial, non-creative people who are interested in using their brains to do something “safe” (i.e., with a “safe” return). There are lawyers who are not like that, but they’re vastly outnumbered by the ones who are. This is why the law generally attracts a huge number of betas and a huge number of women

      1. Yes, lawyers are notoriously risk averse and many are not particularly socially adept. One of the articles I linked above actually talked about this:

        Even lawyers with a dedicated mentor have trouble making equity partner unless they meet a second criterion: demonstrating a potential for attracting clients. There is an irony that flows from this. Lawyers at an elite firm like Mayer Brown have typically spent their lives amassingintellectual credentials. They are high-school valedictorians and graduates of elite universities, with mantles full of Latin honors. They have made law review at top law schools and clerked for federal judges.
        When, somewhere between the second and fifth year of their legal
        careers, they discover that brainpower is only incidental to their
        professional advancement—that the real key is an aptitude for
        schmoozing—it can be a rude awakening.

        I’ve heard similar stories from insiders on TLS about this kind of issue.

        You have to keep in mind the kind of person who survives long in big law is precisely this kind of person. He’ll make it to year 8, and then get axed because he can’t develop a book and can’t be put in front of a client. However, give him 300 signature pages, and he will happily work until 4am and pad his hours so he can condescendingly tell you precisely where the periods and commas are missing.
        Sadly, the kind of person you’d want to promote to partner (i.e., one who can develop client relationships, yet one who is also exceptional in work product) is likely someone who is too entrepreneurial for big law. He will seek an exit the moment he senses he’s being led on by the powers that be, assuming that said powers don’t already axe him because they feel threatened by him (yes, this happens too). Keep in mind, he will also be a flight risk because he will be falling on job offers left and right, whether he wants them or not.
        At the end of the day, the associate most likely to make partner is one who is entrepreneurial, but not so much that they’re a flight risk, and smart. Dude must strike a perfect balance.
        When you look at partnership promotion numbers,
        it makes sense why the numbers are so daunting. The truly talented, sociable, engaging and entrepreneurial people are leaving voluntarily, and you can’t “pity counsel” the aspie 8th year who has 200 pimples concealed by a grotesque neck beard from spending hours in his office spotting commas because of ITE, so you axe him. There’s not much left in an associate class, especially an 8th year class, when those two types can’t be promoted.

        Law firms have difficult decisions to make when it comes to promoting associates to partner since all too often they have too few sociable associates that they can put in front of a client.
        No wonder the legal field is going through so much right now. Seems like quite a mess.
        Also, good to see you again, Nova.

      2. The in-house to business role route is something to consider but I would say it is still pretty rare overall and you’ll probably need a bit of luck for it to actually pay off big — e.g., I’m thinking of someone like Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman who was a senior associate at S&S churning out securities filings when a then unknown Sumner Redstone took a shine to him and made him his GC …

  8. A few more things… from personal experience (JD, 2010).
    There’s a myth perpetuated by law school career services departments that a JD is a meal ticket to all types of career opportunities. Bullshit. If you have a JD and can’t get a legal job – which many young graduates can’t – then your degree is a stone around your neck. I was unemployed for 1 year after law school. I have sales experience (outside and inside), and I had a sales recruiter I knew tell me that he couldn’t help me find work because of my JD.
    Law school career services departments have some of the most incompetent, dishonest people out there. Numbers are fudged, employment statistics are gamed, and they do very little to actually find their graduates work.
    The debt: you are a SLAVE to it. It’s like child support. It crushes your freedom to move, to live, to enjoy your life. I’ve seen friends’ education debt force them to stay at jobs they don’t like in cities they hate.
    Finally, you don’t get those 3 years of your life back. You’re (probably) in your 20s. Do you really want to spend three fucking years studying every day? Do you want to spend three years living off loans? It takes a toll on your body – less time to work out. It takes a toll on your personal life – less time to go meet girls. Forget travel.
    If I had to go back, I don’t think I’d go to law school.

  9. I spent almost 10 years in corporate BigLaw — the work itself was mind-numbing drudgery and my co-workers were for the most part beta faggots, actual cocksucking faggots and man-jawed feminist bitches (my firm also employed a Chief Diversity Officer so you get the picture) — I didn’t mind though since I was a beta faggot myself and only discovered the red pill in the last year or so … My advice for fellow red pill men is to skip law school unless you are absolutely certain you want to be a trial attorney/litigator …

  10. I would only now recommend going to law school if you can get into a top-13 law school (right, it’s no longer top-14 anymore), or if you go into law school already knowing what kind of law you will specialize in, and are reasonably sure you can fill a profitable notch upon graduating. For example, a guy who can handle patent law very well because he understands engineering can probably carve his own niche.
    Otherwise, I recommend going into law the same way I would recommend charging across the fields of Ypres. You won’t leave unscathed, and even if you do, why would you even want to in the first place?

  11. This is great advice, but I’d like to add one caveat – patent law. It’s a growing field that is always looking for new hires. The issue with patent law is that nearly all of the attorneys have bachelors degrees in hard engineering, civil, mechanical, electrical, or chemical specifically. Engineering school is much harder than law school. If you have the mental chops to make it through an engineering undergraduate program, patent law is a solid progression. My college roommate took this path. He finished with a degree in electrical engineering, went to work for a large, soulless company that had tuition assistance, and went to grad school on their dime. After passing the bar he quit and became a patent attorney. Something to consider if you are comfortable with math and technical subjects.

  12. This article hits close to home and its conclusions were the same ones that kept me from going through with it. Fortunately I just got hired to do what I wanted to do after I got a JD anyway (lobbying) so thats 3 years and $180K I’m not spending doing something I don’t really need the degree for in the first place. Eventually, to be competitive for advancement I will have to get some advanced degree but it will be more like $50K and 1.5 years.

  13. Get treated like a top athlete. Take up programming. Robotics and 3D printing is the upcoming tech wave. It’s a good feeling knowing at any time I could go stand on the boss’s desk and piss in his face and not have any worry at all. As I would have a better paying job in less than a week.

      1. In current market web / mobile development .NET / MSSQL will get you paid well. Good to know PHP and Ruby too. Javascript, jQuery, mySQL, android sdk, ios sdk. The fastest route from starting now to a high paying job would be mobile.
        If you are future planning (5-10 years out) then robotics, C++, Python, Arduino. That’s what I am grooming my son for.

        1. Thanks a lot for the advise BTW, much appreciated. For a man, career is way more important than women. Your son is lucky to have a dad like you.
          What is a good reliable source to learn mobile development programming via online learning ?
          Also I work in a warehouse as a helper because I was not wise enough to prioritize paving out a career Is there a type of inventory programming or purchasing programming I can learn to allow me to move up the ladder ?

  14. For the trailblazer (or fool hardy depending on how you look at it) there are still a few good reasons that now is the time to go to law school even though the market for lawyers has completely tanked and the future looks grim.
    1. Law schools are cutting tuition, some as most as half. I have seen some noteworthy state schools cut tuition from the $40,000 to the $20,000. They are also guaranteeing the same tuition rate all three years you are in law school (read no double digit percentage tuition increases your second and third year).
    2. Law school admissions are at an all time low. That means less competition for seats at the more elite schools. If you wanted to gun for a seat at an Ivy or Top Ten law school and your grades/LSAT used to be on the borderline, now is the time to apply. Whereas, the market has been really bad for lawyers in general, those graduating from top schools are still fairing rather well.
    3. Due to the low enrollments there is more scholarship money available out there for students and competition for money, especially scholarships offered outside of schools is at an all time low. If you play your cards right you could end up getting your law degree for almost next to nothing and only having to loan your living expenses. Which, if you get a decent second year associateship, will be paid for at least in your third year.
    4. Just like buying real estate when the market is down, some think it is also good advice for graduate and/or law school. Competition is low, prices are being cut back, and there is more money then ever out there to help you pay for your degree. The market will probably bounce back sometime in the next five to ten years. If you take advantage of the bust times right now when the boom times roll back in again you will be in a good position.
    All this said, there are still plenty of good reasons NOT to go to law school, including all the ones listed in this article. I am glad I did not waste three years of my 20’s getting such a soulless degree but for those who are still interested now might be the time to think about getting one.

    1. 1. The cuts to tuition still don’t reflect the value of a legal education. You’re still looking at well over $20K in tuition per year (even at a Tier 4/unranked dump like Florida Coastal); this doesn’t even account for rent, food, and other expenses.
      2. Yes, admissions are at 1977 levels for the 2013 incoming class (about 39,675 according to the WSJ). But that’s not enough of a market correction. According to a 2013 Time article, “in 2009, just 65.4% of law school graduates got jobs for which they needed to pass the bar.” Since the legal market hasn’t seen a significant improvement since 2009, you’re looking at 1/3 law students who won’t be able to get a legal job. And for those who do get legal work, there’s an over-supply. It’s a buyers market, which drives down costs and increases competition for even the lowest level legal jobs.
      3. The scholarships are out there but they’re still not worth it many times. And schools game the scholarships so they’re lost after the first semester/year. In any case, sometimes you’re better not taking the scholarship. Glenn Reynolds (UTenn LawProf, Instapundit) had a full ride offered by UTenn by instead chose to pay the full price at Harvard. He made the right call.
      4. Few issues with #4: (1) Competition isn’t low – it’s at an all-time high; (2) price cuts aren’t significant; (3) There is not “more money than ever” to help you pay for your degree. (4) Who says the market will recover?

      1. 1. I was just generalizing about tuition cuts and the total cost of going to law school. A third or fourth tier law school has always been a bad deal even before the bust of 2008. I hope the readers of ROK are smart enough to realize even if Florida Coast cuts its tuition to 10K its still not a good deal. What I was referencing was the fact that many second tier state schools are cutting tuition drastically. Those schools can be a great deal depending on area of law, geographic location, and lower costs by living at home.
        2. I think you missed my point entirely. I was talking about competition to Ivy League or other top rated law schools. It is low right now and the mean LSAT/GPA required has slipped a bit. If you were right on the line of getting in say 3-4 years ago you might want to think about trying again. This has nothing to do with market competition for actual lawyers. Generally top tier graduates are doing just fine.
        3. Yes law schools will play games with scholarships, but again I was assuming the average ROK was smart enough not to get hoodwinked. Yes, if the scholarship you are offered requires you the maintain an unrealistic first year GPA then it is probably a sham and you should pass. But, there are real scholarship opportunities out there that are not shams. In order to keep enrollment numbers up and the law schools open bigger universities are diverting more funds to law students from their general scholarship funds. If your numbers and application are good then you will probably find a nice scholarship package along with your admissions offer and most likely it will not be a scam.
        4. Again, competition TO GET INTO LAW SCHOOL is at an all time low. The employment market is still tight, but it is getting better. More lawyers are just getting out of the market and the bleed is going to continue over the next five years. Maybe the market will never get better, but the nature of most markets is that they are cyclical in nature. Will there be a rebound in the future? History says most likely. Is it guaranteed? No, but then so is nothing in life.

        1. 1) No top law schools are cutting tuition. The best schools that have lowered it is Iowa, and it’s still much higher than it was a pre-crash
          2) I got to top 10 law school. Our LSAT scores have stayed pretty constant, though our class size went down a little. Most top law schools are dropping class size rather than standards, so it’s not much easier. The LSAT scores at HYS have gone down a little bit so maybe someone who would have “only” gotten into columbia or chicago can now get into Harvard but it’s not much easier to get T-14

  15. Dependence on desperately keeping their job then rising in a cut-throat manner through the social order in order to pay off school and actually become solvent has unleashed another subtle tyranny on Western man. Through the clever use of debt-slavery the system has created legalistic shock troops who will enforce the expanding totalitarian state’s dictates with no remorse and no concern for true justice.

  16. I think it’s worth it if you can attend your local law school while living at home. As long as you can keep your loans below $60k, you should be in good shape after 3 years of experience. You have to think long term if you don’t go to a top 10 school. I know a lot of people that went to top 10 schools and have no way out the amount of hours they have to work because of their $250k debt. If you keep you loan balances down, you can take the job you want. Lawyers are running corporations these days, so I would go to law school over business school simply because you’re diversifying your education and can contribute a new perspective. Reality is, JD holders are “perceived” to be smart, so I say go for it if it doesn’t cost you $100k plus. Just drive a cheaper car for the first few years…

    1. Just drive a cheaper car for the first few years…

      Or no car if you end up in New York…

  17. AM,
    MBA Law Services is going to put a lot of lawyers out of business….now is a VERY bad time to become a lawyer.
    The vast majority of lawyers are criminals who know they are criminals. Try reading this book…Lawyers all know about this book. It has had more than 1 millions downloads now. It is a masterpiece. And the man who wrote it, Rob Hay, is the most knowledgeable man on the planet on these issues. He is also my good friend.
    If men do not read this book? That is THEIR problem.

  18. This is what you lawyers get for fucking up this once-great country of ours.
    Yes, I know you….people….aren’t ENTIRELY responsible for the whole mess but you sure as hell didn’t hesitate to make it worse now, did you? Laughing all the way to the bank as you poured gasoline on the fire.
    Well now it’s over. Enjoy the decline, you fucking sewer rats.

  19. I got accepted into Law School this Fall. Total cost was $54902.00 per year. I could not afford to go. My financial aid topped out at 21k per year. They do not allow you to work while in school, so I was fawked.

    1. I think you were spared, relatively. Don’t even go to HAWWWW-VAAAAWD unless you have elite connections waiting when you gradgitate.

  20. I don’t discount the substance of this post. There is a glut of lawyers. Only the elite anything can do well, which is the hallmark of a Decline.
    OT: However, I am going to address my pet peeve. Does anyone here have an appreciation for the structural meaning of white man language? You think the Exploration Age would have happened with a Chinese language of associative feel, or any other imprecise language? I see a world of difference between ‘to not do something’ and ‘not to do something’. The former is a positive and express prohibition of the something, whereas the latter is to not regard the something as relevant to the frame and purpose in question, which could happen or could not happen, and so what.
    I add that using the word ‘literally’ is stupid hive think the way it is popularly used since, what?, this year? He literally sat in a chair if one fucking word too many. He literally kicked ass or he literally kicked the bucket is meaningful because it disambiguates the raw literal meaning from the metaphor adapted from the literal meaning. All words have denotative meanings, so it is no news flash that words mean something literally, for Kree-ice-sts sake. It is blue pill to follow the herd into the emotional misuse of language. I understand mispellings, but sloppy structure based on conventional feel is your brain turning to shit unless you are aping the everyday man or woman. Fight sloppy structure of expression, please, and mean what you mean for those who can think.

  21. Good article. I would like to point that competition should not be a very important consideration to discourage one’s career goals. There are always thousands of doctors, lawyers and accountants in every given locality. The way to approach this is by distinguishing yourself as a more competent, prompt, reliable and charismatic professional. Just like in dating, competition is just an excuse for not doing the best you can. If Facebook card about competition, they would never be where they are, after Myspace and alike emerged. If Google were discouraged by Yahoo when they started, they also wouldn’t be where they are.

  22. Two more reasons for not going to law school:
    1. You may not even graduate because of enormous course loads. The Beta Times had a long article 2 years back on why you shouldn’t go to law school.
    2. If you’re a minority or a woman, you will have a harder time becoming a partner. Many practices hire based on connections or how well you get along with the firm. You may end up staying in the same lowly position with no advancement for the rest of your life.

    1. “If you’re a minority or a woman,”
      you received Affirmative Action benefits and probably didn’t earn you way into law school in the first place. Go fuck yourself. I wont hire you.

  23. I went to law school because I was blue pill beta faggot trying to please my parents and fulfill some societal prestige bullshit. The truth is that I was afraid, in my twenties, to take RISKS and do what in my heart I wanted to do. So what happened? I got into a third tier law school, got crappy grades, graduated in the bottom third of my class. After three attempts at trying to pass the bar (NY 2x, D.C. 1x) I gave up and just tried to get a non-legal job with JD. FAIL!!!! Broke and unemployed for two years, living at home. Finally got a job, thanks to a friend’s contacts, as a Corporate Compliance officer in a shitty non-profit in a shitty backwater part of Queens, NY. Oh yeah, by then I have completely defaulted on my students loans. They refused to consolidate. Sallie Mae and the Gang began garnishing my wages. I didn’t care (15%) out of a lousy 55Gs a year, really. But my credit was shit. Landlords do credit checks now, and I couldn’t qualify for any newly built apartments. My job was AWFUL, but thats another story. I lost the “office-wars” and was laid off after two years. No credit. Defaulted on loans. Can’t find a job. Now what? I’m teaching English in Korea. My life in America is over, but I won’t blame anybody except myself. I have to move on.

      1. A buddy of mine teaches ESL in Korea and sexcations in Thailand; he never plans to come back to Canada. Ever.

    1. Basically you ambition exceeded you abilities, plenty of people would kill to have that 55 thousand a year job that you casually dismiss. Being acepted to a 3rd teer law school should have been your first hint that maybe Paralegal or another field like entrepreneuralship may have been a more sensible choice.

  24. If you want to be a lawyer, there are 4 states in which you can do an apprenticeship with a licensed lawyer then take the bar exam. New York requires at least a year in law school.

  25. It ALL depends on how much faith you have in yourself, and how hard you’ll work to be better others

  26. Interesting timing given I just applied to law school. Although my motives are different than most. Going to grad school always has down sides, doesn’t really matter much what field youre in.

  27. 4. People hate lawyers.
    5. The “imputed income” when you get divorced will keep you broke from alimony/spousal support ’til you die.

  28. Two ways to get a fairly good job out of law school are to become a military legal officer or a lawyer for the US Government.

    1. Fail! There has been a hiring freeze among most state department jobs since 2009. Not only that, state department employees and military personnel who should be retiring are applying for many of these “entry level” positions because they can’t afford to stop working, and they get “points” for being either veterans or former state. Just try to apply for entry level analyst positions for any state.gov jobs. good luck, if you don’t have connections or military service points. JD doesn’t mean shit anymore. If anything, it scares away some employers who think you’re overqualified or you’ll take their job once hired. Many colleagues of mine actual hide their JD and leave it off their resumes.

  29. With all the aging baby boomers, law’s fine if you want to have a small practice and occupy yourself with death issues. Divorce law should be a booming business too, as long as you can set aside your morals as you and the opposing lawyer try to get your clients as antagonized as possible in order to drag out the divorce and milk them for all their worth; acutally, you and the opposing lawyers are really partners, and many of them meet for lunch and decide how much they’re going to take their clients for. You could be an ambulance chaser too, I suppose.
    In my experience, both lawyers and accountants are too cautious to rely on for real business advice. Sure, it’s nice to know all your options and their ramifications, but in the end, lawyers and accountants will advise you on the safest action and that’s not necessarily the most profitable one; actually, their advice can cause you to actually lose money sometimes.

    1. Right. It’s a personality type that tends to be attracted to the law (and it’s not that different from the one that is attracted to accounting, although there are more extroverted lawyers than accountants in my experience).
      These professions attract people who are extraordinarily risk-averse, not very entrepreneurial, and in favor generally of the “safe”. It is very beta, and this is also why both law and accounting are filled with women.

      1. Yeah, I’ve been noticing all the skin in my accounting firm’s office lately! But office jobs are to their detriment actually; my Exie is in accounting and studying to be a full fledge CPA, and she spends all day sitting at work and all evening sitting studying. Her once tight butt is now flabby as fuck and those once smooth toned legs are mottled with cellulite. She still has her 25-year old figure, but her sedentary lifestyle has flabbed her out. She used to walk two hours two and from work in Sankt Petersburg, and that kept her tight as fuck. The passing of time sucks, FOR WOMEN! 😀
        There are some Alphas in those fields of course, as they work within the frameworks of their professions to emerge dominant. But that’s the thing with Alphas, they need rules to work with, rules that they can subjugate Betas with. Entrepreneurs ignore everybody and everything and do what their visions inspire them to; they are compelled to make a dream a reality. Vision and action. Alphas are obsessed with money and status; entrepreneurs don’t give a shit about that, money is just a scorekeeper and the trappings of success are just a distraction.
        More than anything, satisfaction comes making your vision a thriving success; nothing can beat that feeling of triumph and of showing all those naysayers who’s really THE KING! Nothing beats being able to say, “Fuck you, I did it!”.

      2. And that’s a good place for women: desk jobs. Up here in Canada female Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers are retiring early left and right due to post traumatic stress syndrome. If they can’t take the shit, why’d they sign up in the first place? All these former female officers’ disability pensions and legal settlements are costing us taxpayers big money. I’ve had a butt-ugly 5’2″ female RCMP officer with a huge fat ass chew me out and I just smirked, thinking I’d laugh in her face and tell her to fuck off if she weren’t armed and possessing the power to arrest me and make my life miserable.
        For fuck’s sakes, I’ve had to scrape up the bloody pulpy remains of a tenant once the morgue was done with his rotting corpse, and you don’t see me going all “poor me”. What a victim society we’ve become. Everybody wants to play the fucking victim card.

  30. For anyone reading this under 25, pursue the dreams within your heart, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. In the mid-1980s, I considered a career writing and illustrating comic books/graphic novels. Everyone said that would be stupid. “Comic books will soon become obsolete, replaced by computer games, the industry is dying, stop being an manchild and grow up. Choose a REAL profession, like LAW!” Well, how many “comic books” have recently been optioned for films? Hollywood studios are paying millions to option the rights of graphic novels! Graphic artists and writers are fucking celebrities now (Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore) at comic cons, surrounded by hot babes in cosplay constumes. My stupid, sheep ass went to law school instead of honing my craft and now look where i am? Who knew the comic book industry would become like this over night? Pursue your dreams. Don’t be a fool like I was.

  31. Great article. If you don’s believe AMcG, read Law School Confidential. It’s over 10 years old and warned about this even back then.
    Then read Worthless by Aaron Clarey, AKA Captain Capitalism. I especially recommend the audio book. While I enjoy Aurini and think he is extremely thoughtful and well read, God gave him a voice that the rest of us can only envy. He does an outstanding job.

  32. patent law is a sweet gig if you can get it…from what I heard though you need to have a STEM degree in addition to the law degree

  33. Excellent post, Athlone. Does all (or most) that applies to law school also apply to med school?

    1. With regard to this post, not really.
      We have too many lawyers, but too few doctors, so that point of my article doesn’t apply to med school.
      The financial crisis persists, but doctors are in a far better position to weather it than lawyers given the fact that they receive more direct practical training and are in high demand across the globe relative to their supply. Thus, that point doesn’t apply to med school either.
      The part about school costs, however, does apply. Med school is plenty expensive and, unlike in law, you won’t be able to jump into a high paying career immediately upon graduation in order to pay it off. You’ll need at least a 2 or 3 (up to 7 or 8 for the more elite specialties) year residency before you start seeing the real money and your pay won’t be all that great during that time span. This is a big downside since it isn’t unheard of for a med student to have $200,000+ in student loan debt (combined undergrad and grad) by the time med school is done. That residency component is a big downside to the medical career path because of how long it is and the financial costs it necessitates.
      So no, most of what I said above about law school doesn’t apply to med school, but there is some overlap.

  34. Lawyers are immoral scumbags, every single one. Our screwed-up law system is designed in a way that being an immoral scumbag is a basic requirement to be a lawyer. Lawyers are not truth seekers, they are narrative creators. They spin and twist the facts to try to make their side look good. Their job is simply to be a convincing propagandist for the benefit of their client. The truth does not matter to them, only winning matters. It is a profession for narcissists and psychopaths. No wonder most politicians start out as lawyers.

  35. Get an Electrical Engineering or Computer Science degree then take the patent bar.Apply to law school as a patent agent, graduate as a patent attorney and it is not so bad. I speak from experience.

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