On pursuing a lifelong career in the legal industry
My friend will graduate from college soon this year after three years of legal studies. For the purpose of applying what she has learnt as well as out of her own interest, she is considering pursuing a career in the legal field. Ever since her childhood, she has dreamt of becoming a barrister, making her case and defending for her client just like those lawyers portrayed in TV dramas. She worked hard to enter the law school and worked even harder to graduate. However, just as she is about to step out from college and realize her dream, she has begun to hesitate. The media have published stories about the gloomy prospects for law school graduates in recent years. For example this story about the limited vacancies for law school graduates published by Bloomberg. There are also other stories about the cost of studying law, like this one published by Business Insider about the average debt of a law-school graduate.
Career prospects and the cost of study are two important factors to take into account before you enroll into a law school. It might still be the case that legal jobs are paid more handsomely than other general office work. However, the edge is narrowing and many legal practitioners at the lower rung of the ladder are earning not as much as before as a result of severe competition in the job market.
For students who are seeking higher ranking positions such as solicitors and barristers, they should pay attention to the cost of study for entering a law school. As Daniel A. Hochheiser, a criminal attorney and managing partner at Hochheiser & Hochheiser, quoted as saying in an article published by observer.com, “Law school is a major gamble.” Law-school students are required to spend a fortune on tuition fees and might find themselves deep in loans with no guarantee of success in landing a good paying legal job in the future.
In fact, as early as 2013, TIME magazine published an article about the legal sector might be in for a fundamental change arising from a grim legal job market. It was noted in the article that there were a surprising number of legal job postings that offer no pay at all, in addition to many legal graduates were stuck with low-paying contract work which are tedious and unrewarding. This has caused a vicious cycle for law-school graduates, who are not able to secure a well-paying job and end up not being able to pay off their debt. Having no other choices they are stuck with low-paying jobs, which are not paying enough to help them to clear up their debts.
The cost of continuing professional study is another factor to consider for law-school students. Law associations in different countries require all legal practitioners to keep abreast of the latest trends of the industry and expand their expertise by taking legal CPD courses. The cost of CPD for lawyers should be taken into account before one decides to enter the legal field.
There is no guarantee that studying a law degree will be a good investment. Prepared for the worst and equipped yourself with the necessary knowledge is what we can do to minimize the risk. After all, there is no surefire way to a successful career.