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Where are they know: The Lost Generation

The Lost Generation

Where are they know: The Lost Generation


  1. Recent law school graduates face a difficult time in their job search. It’s not easy to find a job that offers fulfillment and pays the bills! What you’ve been through has been tough, but as you mentioned has made you stronger and better mother, and eventually a better attorney. Best of luck to you in your job search Lindsey! Thanks for posting this article- you offer other attorneys in your situation hope!

  2. I blame the Legislature for some of this mess. I heard through the grapevine at a recent CLE that the AG’s office has had several attorneys leave and the positions are not being filled due to budget uncertainties. I also know that there are several other government employers that have not replaced attorneys who have retired or left because there is no certainty as to what will happen with the state budget. There are a lot of good opportunities for attorneys in state and local government. Unfortunately, those opportunities are simply not available right now because department heads have no idea how much funding will be available.

    Private firm hiring seems to have improved somewhat, but there is such a backlog of talent that it is not unusual for a firm to get 200-300 applications in response to a posting. In a field that large, it is very difficult to stand out even if one has solid academic credentials and experience.

  3. Dear Lindsey (fellow Wellesley grad),

    You seem to be located in a good place to start your own firm. I’d suggest doing lots of pro bono volunteer organizations and get your feet wet that way.


  4. I’m just curious…why did your clerkship end?

  5. It should be noted that the legal profession has been glutted for decades. Attorneys have had difficulty entering the profession for a long time. It’s nothing new, but we’re only now hearing about it because the general economy is bad and the scambuster blogs have only been publishing for three or four years. The legal establishment is trying to whitewash the employment situation as being temporary and due to the current recession. Contrary to what they want people to believe (especially prospective law students), JD overproduction, has been a problem for many many years and will be a huge problem even if the economy recovers (in addition to the giant mass of previously produced unemployed or underemployed-involuntarily-out-of-field JDs who still dream of entering the profession).

    I have conducted a study of the amount of JD production every year going back to 1963 based on ABA and U.S. Census stats.


    In 1963 the amount of JD production relative to the U.S. population was such that if the population remained static (neither grew nor shrank) for 40 years and the same amount of JDs were produced every year, after 40 years (in 2003) there would be about 1 JD (produced over the previous 40 years) for every 491 Americans. (I call this 491 number the “Sustained Inverse Lawyers Per Capita” (SILPC–pronounced “Silps”) number, meaning that the current amount of JD production relative to population is such that if population and JD production remained the same, that number would be sustained over time.)

    Since then the amount of JD production relative to population began to rapidly increase. In just five years, the SILPC dropped from 491 in 1963 to 313.5 in 1968. By 1973, in just ten years, the amount of JD production had almost tripled from 9,638 (in 1963) to 27,756 resulting in a SIPLC of 191. The highest rate of JD production relative to population occurred in 1983 when it reached an all time low of 161.0 — a rate of production sufficient to sustain having one attorney for every 161 Americans. In 2009 the SILPC was about 174.5.

    So, as you can see, JD overproduction has been a problem for a long time. As a result, based on these ABA numbers, a Bureau of Labor Statistics number, and the assumption that your average attorney would work for 40 years before retiring or dying (some more, some less), it turns out that only just under 54% of all JDs produced in the previous 40 years are able to work in the legal profession at jobs of varying quality and pay:


    Using the assumption that it was easier to enter the profession in previous decades and that it has become increasingly difficult, it’s very possible that fewer than 30% of all new JDs are able to find work in the legal profession (of varying quality and pay, meaning that some of the jobs are not worth the price of law school):


    So, as you can see, contrary to what the law schools and the ABA wants people to believe, JD overproduction has been a problem for decades and an upturn in the economy won’t do much to alleviate the situation. (Translation–if you can’t gain admission to HYS or obtain a guaranteed three year full-tuition scholarship and can live with your parents or your uncle/daddy doesn’t own a successful personal injury firm and has promised you employment, don’t go to law school.)

    I encourage everyone who is concerned about JD overproduction and the current state of the legal profession to commiserate with other disenchanted JDs at the JD Underground discussion forum: http://www.jdunderground.com or http://www.qfora.com/jdu/

  6. One more point. It’s easy to whine and complain, but more difficult to propose an actual solution to the JD overproduction problem. So, what is the solution? Very simply, we need to shutter 75% of the law schools or reduce that amount of law school seats by 75%. This would allow most new graduates to enter the profession and also help many previous graduates enter the profession.

    Our rallying cry should be, “Close 75%.”

  7. Please stop whining. I graduated from law school in 2003, and the economy was bad back then. I’ve had to work several jobs that have nothing to do with the law just to pay back my student loans, and I graduated in the top of my class!

    I wish you 2008-2010 grads would stop thinking you’re the only ones in the “Lost” generation; there are thousands of other law school grads across the country in the same boat due to the poor economy the past decade.

    The government should get rid of federal financial aid – if you can’t afford to go to law school, tough beans. If you really want to go, you’ll find a way to go. In all honesty, you’re not missing anything – just saving yourself from years of heartburn, health problems and mental frustration. And don’t fool yourself by thinking you’d be the “exception to the rule” and land one of those high-paying big firm jobs. You may or may not be – it’s sort of like playing the lottery. In the law, it’s all about luck, good timing, and who you know, instead of what you know (merit).

    Anyway, I wish you new grads would just stop whining and find a job, any job, like the rest of us. Start paying your student loans down so the rest of the taxpayers (and us older law school grads that don’t receive any help from the Obama administration) don’t have to pick up your tab! You took the loans out – you chose to go to law school, even though many of us older grads have tried to warn you so you didn’t end up like us – so you need to take responsibility for the decisions you have made (like choosing to have a child when you didn’t even have a job lined up). Stop whining, get some personal responsibility, and start paying your debt to society back like the rest of us!

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