What’s a Young Lawyer to Do

The other day, I was at Starbucks and I was talking to a young gal who is studying law at one of the local universities. I asked her what type of law she might practice when she graduates. She indicated to me that she wasn’t sure yet, that she was in her first year of law, and she may transfer to another University after a couple of years. Yes, that makes sense, but it still begs the question about her future career.

Specifically, I wonder; what is a young lawyer to do, and what type of law should they be choosing for their future? Right now, and we had also talked about this, many of the lawyers which have graduated from college cannot get jobs with law firms. There have even been some class-action lawsuits where the students have gotten together to sue the college, which promised them after paying that high tuition cost and going into debt for student loans, that there would be jobs available when they graduated – there were not.

The universities, private colleges, and for-profit colleges which advertised and marketed that they could place these law students simply stated, that the economy had changed, and the information was correct when they gave it out, but due to the economic collapse of 2008, and the slow recovery, there just aren’t those jobs out.

Nevertheless, from a businessperson standpoint, I would add that business people giving “forward-looking earnings statements” often get sued by their shareholders (and their lawyers) if they can’t perform. And yes, many times there are economic factors, but that doesn’t stop the onslaught of lawsuits.

The young gal thought she might like to work with humanitarian causes, but she also realizes she will have to pay back her student loans, which could be over $200,000 by the time she graduates and actually gets her law degree. In other words, she would not be able to work for free or in such a low-paying sector, and although her father is also a lawyer, and she might be able to take over some of his practice, or join his law firm, she may not be able to make the level of income she had hoped, or even enough money to justify her decision to go into law in the first place.