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Q: Is it Really a Bad Time to Be in Law School? A: That's a Dumb Q

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  • Q: Is it Really a Bad Time to Be in Law School? A: That's a Dumb Q

    We recently had occasion to chat with a second-year student at a large second-tier midwestern law school. When we asked what she was planning to do this summer, there was silence on the phone. She had no idea.

    Now, it wasn’t like this 2L was waiting to hear from a flood of employers. No, all those folks had already dinged her. Nor was she readying to send out a new batch of resumes. What was the point? She was just standing still, it seemed, and had literally no idea what she was going to be doing this summer. She dreaded having to move back in with her parents for the season. After the call, we were of half a mind to send the poor girl a check for $100. We’re sorry this has befallen you, we would say in our condolence note. We feel for you. Buy yourself some new running shoes. Or splurge on some sushi.

    Ah, it’s grim. The recession is officially over, the stock markets have largely rebounded on news of strong earnings, and law firms are slowly regaining their footing. But the jobs just haven’t returned yet.

    If statistics are your thing (and not just isolated anecdotes of woe), we’ve got some this morning, courtesy of the NLJ. The paper reports a reality as grim as the tales. The median number of offers by U.S. law firms for 2010 summer associate positions was seven, according to statistics released Tuesday by NALP. The number, reports the NLJ, was down from 10 offers in 2008 and 15 offers in 2007.

    The offer rate was the lowest NALP has reported since the organization began gathering offer statistics some 17 years ago.

    The falloff was even more dramatic for firms with 700 or more attorneys. Their median offer rate was 30 in 2007 but only eight in 2009.

    We’d be inclined to think, however, that the storm may be passing. If it is, however, it’s passing slowly, perhaps reflective of the job situation in the economy at large.

    NALP Executive Director Jim Leipold told the NLJ: I don’t think anyone expects recruiting volumes to pick up significantly during 2010, though the worst does seem, we hope, to be behind us.”

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