After three years of toiling in law school, graduates are complaining that their degrees aren't translating into job offers like their admissions offices promised.
But not everyone is buying it.
On Wednesday, a judge threw out a $200 million lawsuit filed by nine New York Law School graduates against their alma mater, alleging that the school misrepresented their postgraduate employment opportunities, according to Reuters. The court ruling referred to the students’ accusations against their law school as “unpersuasive,” citing that they had “access to publicly available information pertaining to the realities of the legal job market.”
The case is one of many brought by students against law schools for inflating postgraduate job prospects in their marketing materials, according to The New York Times.
That could be because a down economy has rendered an altered reality for law school graduates. For many, the legal profession used to mean a guaranteed standard of living, but those entering the legal job market in recent years are facing a changing landscape with stiffer competition and fewer opportunities, the NYT reported last year. The current economic climate has even forced recent law school grads to look for jobs outside the legal profession, according to U.S. News and World.
While law school graduates are griping against lower-than-expected career prospects, law firms are facing their own financial troubles. Firms have had to lay off employees and put off hiring because of diminished work related to the economic recession, such as decreased real estate acquisitions and mergers, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The reality of not finding a job after graduating is especially alarming for those carrying the hefty debt-load of their legal education. The average law student's debt was $100,584 last year, according to figures from the 191 schools that reported them to U.S. News and World .
With its high costs and questionable ability to deliver job prospects, a legal diploma may be losing its appeal. There was a nearly 10 percent drop in applicants to law school last year from the year before, which is the sharpest decline since at least ten years ago when the Law School Admission Council started displaying comparable data. The downward trend has continued this year. As of last week, LSAC reported that the number of law school applicants had fallen more than 14 percent below the same time a year ago, according to The Chicago Tribune.