To the Editor:
On September 24th the Wall Street Journal wrote a front page story on the decline and fall of the legal profession. In this long article, the Journal pointed out in statistical detail, that real wages for most lawyers are declining compared to other occupations, that employment opportunities are declining, that law schools are increasing the number of law school students beyond what the market can absorb, that law student debt is skyrocketing to pay for law school tuition that has skyrocketed, and that as a result of all of these trends, the legal profession is rapidly declining. The Wall Street Journal further pointed out that law schools have essentially misled the law students about the poor marketplace for graduates. While starting salaries at the large slave firms have increased, many graduates find their legal prospects to be poor and few, and they cannot pay off their law school debts. The Journal argues that law schools need to be much more honest with their students, instead of taking advantage of them.
While the Wall Street Journal offers a mountain of statistical evidence to support their position that the legal profession is crashing and burning, their decision to put this long article on the first page of the newspaper sent a clear and unmistakable message to the business community. The Journal felt that the situation in the legal community is in crisis, and that the law schools are not properly debating the subject, and thus that new lawyers are unprepared for the marketplace that they will face.
It raises the question as to how Harvard Law School is preparing its students for their uphill struggle ahead. It raises the question of what HLS students get for borrowing 100,000 dollars (which means they pay back 200,000 dollars over 10 years), which in some cases amounts to 2,000 dollars per month in loan payments, for new graduates. It raises the question as to what HLS can do for its alumni, since it does virtually nothing for them now. It raises the question as to why the law school has jacked tuition so high so fast. It raises many questions.
HLS Class of 1990