Right now, the economy and the market for lawyers has picked up substantially. As a result, we are seeing the first uptick in law school enrollment that we have seen in many years. The strengthened economy is good news for would-be lawyers. The fact that law school enrollment is still low by historical standards also is good news.
In many ways, one couldn’t ask for a better economic time to be thinking about going to law school. However, it’s important to remember that the economy always will have its ups and downs, and that will have at least some impact on lawyers. In the past – including during the heart of our lengthy recession that began a decade ago – I have written that prospective law students should consider the long-term impact of a law school degree.
If one wants to go to law school and become a lawyer (or some other job that would benefit from a law school degree), then it makes sense to do so – even if the economy isn’t so hot. On the other hand, if one really doesn’t have an interest in law school or working as a lawyer (at least compared to other job prospects), then one shouldn’t do it – even if the current state of the economy for lawyers is good. So, although the economic conditions have improved dramatically since the time I originally posted this advice, the advice itself hasn’t changed at all:
- Take a long-term view of the value of a law degree.
- Accept the fact that the economy will by cyclical, and that there will be better and worse times for lawyers.
- If you want to go to law school and be a lawyer, then you should do it – even if the short-term economic outlook isn’t so hot.
- If you don’t want to go to law school or be a lawyer, then you shouldn’t do it – even if the current economic state for lawyers is quite good (as it appears to be now).
The advice sounds simple, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t follow it. If you have any questions about whether law school is the right move for you, if you want to talk to lawyers in different fields, or if you’d find it useful to speak with current law school students, please feel free to let me know. Doing some introspection and thinking things through ahead of time are likely to increase the odds dramatically that you will make the right decision…for you. Good luck!!