US: Law schools growing, but jobs are not

To hear many students tell it, law school is a guaranteed ticket to a well-paying career, writes Justin Pope for Associated Press. So a recent milestone must have sounded like good news. The United States last week became the world's first nation of 200 accredited law schools, as the American Bar Association gave provisional approval to two North Carolina institutions.

In other countries, it is much harder to become a lawyer. In the US, the doors are open and getting wider. The 150,000 students enrolled in law schools last year were an all-time high. So adding more slots means even more avenues of opportunity, right?

On closer inspection, however, the economics of the "more is better" argument for legal education do not necessarily hold up.

"I think we have this fundamental disconnect between images of lawyers in the popular media, in the courtroom dispensing justice, where everyone seems prosperous and well paid," said William Henderson, an Indiana University-Bloomington law professor who studies the job market. "The reality is for a lot of people, law school is a route to trying to start your own private practice, and that's a very crowded business right now."
Full report on the Associated Press site