According to a Quartz article, the U.S. lawyer bubble has conclusively popped. Due to new technology, flat-fee contracts, and globalization, the world, according to the article, just doesn’t need so many lawyers. Brand-name law schools and those that get support from large universities won’t suffer from this shift as much as lower-ranked, less prestigious, stand-alone institutions. With fewer jobs available, the job placement ratings of these institutions have plummeted. For those in the bottom quartile of schools, placement rates have sunk to less than 71%. (This is compared to the job placement rates of 84.1%-97.5% of those schools in the top quartile.) In response, these stand-alone schools are dropping their prices and raising their acceptance rates, which doesn’t bode well for perceptions of quality. The Quartz article predicts that many of these schools in the near future will need to consolidate with other programs, or close their doors entirely.
For law school graduates, these changes means fewer jobs and lower pay. The nine-month post-graduation unemployment rate for the class of 2013 was 11.2%, compared to 9.2% in 2011 and 10.6% in 2012.
The double-digit drop in LSAT exams and ABA applicants for the third consecutive year in a row shows that applicants are aware of the crisis here, and are acting accordingly.
(Both charts from the Quartz article, “The US lawyer bubble has conclusively popped“)