Honors Theses

Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Charles E. Smith, Jr.

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

The total number of law school graduates for the class of 2011 was 43,979 and of the 42,411 graduates whose employment status was known by March 15, 2012, less than 55% of graduates had found long-term, full-time jobs in a field that required bar passage. Less than 63% of graduates had found any job in a field that required bar passage. With so many graduates and so few jobs, prospective law students must consider the risk that at- tending law school has become for many of its graduates. This thesis uses recent graduate data to analyze the current woes of law school and the legal field, namely the flaws in the methodology of the over glorified U.S. News and World Report law school rankings, the staggering amounts of student loans needed to accommodate rising tuition costs, the ways in which tech- nology and new law schools are contributing to an already over saturated market, and the professional unhappiness legal professionals reportedly face. It also considers ways of reforming legal education, something that could contribute to improving the aforementioned problems, and how those ways could or could not work. Concluding that there multiple reasons why law school is currently a promising decision for only a fraction of its applicants, the final section proposes circumstances under which a prospective student should still attend law school.

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