Policy Documents

A 'Great Devourer of Good Men' and Women

Deborah D. Thornton –
December 1, 2010


In the last three or four months, as unemployment has remained high and new hiring lags, there has been much discussion throughout academia and government about higher education and what to do about it. More students than ever before are attending college, mostly on student loans. Many are taking six or more years to graduate, if at all. Either way they have huge debts to pay off. President Barack Obama is encouraging even more young people to go to college. In the meantime unemployment and debt among recent graduates is at record highs.

This is especially true of law schools. Historically when the job market is tight, people return to or remain in school, to "wait it out." Accordingly, law school admissions and career offices are actively recruiting more students. Being an attorney has long been perceived as a fast track to the "American Dream" of a good job, a high salary, positions of community leadership, and family respect. Going to law school is considered a good alternative, with a guaranteed job. The schools and society promote this image