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State of the (Alabama) Bar

 

The Alabama State Bar just released the following report:

Thirty-four percent of Fall 2011 new admittees who responded to a survey conducted by the Alabama State Bar indicated they graduated from law school with educational debt in the range of $100,000 to $180,000.

Every year, law students embark on a three-year course of study that will prepare them for a rewarding profession. Unfortunately, this course of study will also leave many of them with a considerable amount of student loan and other indebtedness at the end of their three-year education. It is increasingly common for law school graduates to owe $100,000, $150,000 or more by the time they complete their education.

Starting Salary Range:

What resource(s) did you employ in your legal job search? Please check all that apply.

Loads of debt? Check.

Low starting salary? Check.

Social Media worthless when it comes to getting a job? Check.

Want More? How about some comments left by new lawyers on the survey:

  • I believe the word needs to be spread that obtaining a law degree is not a direct path to finding well paying employment or even employment in the legal field. Anything the Bar can do to reduce the volume of people enrolling in law school would be helpful. I think spreading the facts about employment prospects and average salary would be instrumental in this process.
  • Convince the law schools to stop admitting so many people and to be honest with their employment statistics. It really is an outrage how many students are lured to law school by false statistics –many of these students have absolutely no chance of finding a job in law, and many more will be underemployed or underpaid (with student loan debt in mind). Even as one of the few to land a high-paying job, it is hard for me to recommend law school to anyone. I had a very difficult time finding a job and just sort of lucked into the one I got–I still know a lot of people who are unemployed, employed but making next to nothing,or employed but extremely unhappy with their jobs.
  • Make sure the students know the truth before attending school. Being an attorney is not a good way to make a living anymore. The market is literally flooded with attorneys and it is simply too common to see attorneys who have been practicing law for 5 years and still scratching out only 50K a year. Seriously, our debt far exceeds 100K and it accrues interest every day. It would be better to get a four year degree and work as a manager at Wal-Mart than be an attorney in Alabama, at least they have benefits. Please tell the students the truth before they pay for law school. It is simply unethical to allow students to think they will actually make a decent living on the other side of law school.

There you have it. The current state and attitudes of the incoming batch of new lawyers from 2011.

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About Keith Lee

I'm the founder and editor of Associate's Mind. I like to write, talk, and think about law, professional development, technology, and whatever else floats my boat. I practice law in Birmingham, AL.
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