February 4, 2019
I often say — and not entirely in jest — that I became a lawyer because I have no marketable skills. And I am very glad that I went to law school 35 years ago, because I doubt very much that I could or would go that route today: most graduates will incur a boatload of debt along with the law degree, and finding a legal job that pays — let alone one that provides social value — is getting harder and harder all the time.
Oh, and there’s that troublesome thing about passing the bar in the first place.
According to this article in USA Today, at some 18 U.S. law schools, at least a quarter of students fail to pass a bar exam within two years of graduation. Together, these schools enroll 8,000 students. And most of these schools are highly tuition-dependent for revenue, so as the number of prospective students declines, the admissions standards for these schools declines as well.
Sam Goldstein graduated from Arizona Summit Law School in Phoenix (a private school owned by a for-profit company) having accumulated $285,000 in debt, and has failed the bar exam eight times, racking up an additional $18,000 in fees in the process.
And he’s planning on taking the test for the 9th time this month.