Yes. I have written about the pay hikes at top firms around the country, but an extremely important article in The Wall St. Journal, "Hard Case: Job Market Wanes for U.S. Lawyers" focuses on another facet of the legal profession: the graduates of non-elite programs who have less spectacular salaries (or even short-term, contract positions) and struggle to pay off their law school debt.
Richard Matasar, Dean of New York Law School, predicted this situation in his more complete article "The Rise and Fall of American Legal Education."
I strongly recommend that anyone considering a legal career read both these articles, especially if they are not going to programs ranked in the US News top ten or if they don’t want to deal with 2000-billable-hours-per-year requirements. A legal career can be a wonderful profession, but anyone choosing it needs to see the whole picture and not just the $160K salaries that a few earn upon graduation.
Neither the WSJ article nor the articles about sky-high salaries nor the articles about unhappy lawyers can tell you where you will end up. But you need to consider all the possibilities, the potential rewards, and the very real costs when you apply to law school.
For more thoughts on these points, please see Cali’s Pre-Law Blog. He has an excellent summary of blog posts about and in reaction to this article.