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Unemployment may be down, but not for law grads. Of the 45,000 students who earn their J.D. each year, 45 per cent can’t get a job in their field, says University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos. Such a harsh reality has led many disillusioned students to begrudge their alma mater, and this year many students are suing.

The accusations are that law schools are not representing how lucrative the market is. Kevin Johnson was attracted to his law school, which rated its employment rate to about 90 per cent. to seek to fulfill his dream of serving the needy as a lawyer. Now that he has his J.D. and has $230,000 in law school debt, he is the needy, serving pizzas.

“I am not a lawyer,” Johnson said. “I’m a server. Lawyers do lawyer things. Lawyers work at law firms. Lawyers do public policy work…. Lawyers don’t serve pizza.”

  
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Yet, despite the fact that Johnson finally found some temporary legal work, he wasn’t foolish enough to give up his full time job as a pizza delivery man.

“I think [I was mislead],” Johnson said. “I think the culture of law schools is misleading, sort of what they’re all selling to future students and the idea that a JD is a ticket to a job and to immediate prospects and stability.

Professor Campos agrees: “Many of the people who are going to law school right now are never going to be lawyers.” He notes that the employment law schools report rates of 80 per cent only by including non-legal, part-time, and temporary jobs, but that the actual rates is closer to 40 per cent.

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Whatever the case, with the cases being brought against law schools in the last few years, the visibility of legal market reality is becoming clearer to prospective students.





 

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