Understand Job Demand When Pursuing Higher Ed Options

Business Insider posted an article recently titled “I Consider Law School a Waste of My Life and an Extraordinary Waste of Money.” While this represents just one person’s experience, the narrative paints a startling picture of the realities some people face in this microcosm of higher education.

The article is a Q&A with an anonymous 28-year-old lawyer who says he incurred a “life-destroying” amount of debt by going to law school, with nothing to show for it now.

“Never in my worst nightmares did I think I’d find myself with $200,000 in debt, making less than $50,000, struggling to find job openings and to move on in my career,” he writes. “I live with my parents. I don’t have a car. I don’t go out to socialize. I don’t date. I don’t buy new clothes. I don’t buy electronics. I don’t buy much of anything.”

After he graduated from law school, he moved around small law firms for two years, even working for free as an intern at one point. Then, he worked for a $12,000 annual salary; after three months he got a raise to $24,000. Now, he works for a $45,000 salary with 15% of it going to his law school loans on an income-based repayment plan.

“There is an enormous oversupply of JDs in the United States. Low-paying jobs routinely receive hundreds of resumes from desperate law school grads,” he concludes. “I think getting a computer science undergrad or even community college degree leads to a more positive economic outcome than law school the vast majority of the time.”

Though Indiana needs more bachelor’s degree graduates too (in certain degree tracks), IndianaSkills.com was created to help meet employer and employee needs in a very specific area. The greatest job demand in Indiana is in the middle skills, meaning Indiana’s economy needs many more workers with sub-baccalaureate skills and credentials (associate’s degrees, certifications, certificates). Not all degrees and credentials are created equal – we encourage all students and job seekers to understand Indiana’s labor market demand when making choices about further education. IndianaSkills.com is one resource to find that information.

Wanted: More Legal Assistance

Recent news from the legal profession has focused on the difficulty of new lawyers in finding jobs. Is that changing? A third of law firms and corporations participating in a quarterly survey indicated they are seeking to hire full-time legal staff.

The Robert Half Legal Hiring Index noted that just 2% anticipate staff reductions. The net 30% of respondents projecting an increase in hiring activity is up eight points from the previous quarter’s forecast. Law firms are expected to do the majority of the hiring in the upcoming quarter.

Business optimism also is improving. Eighty-four percent of lawyers polled are at least somewhat confident in their organizations’ growth prospects for the third quarter, up 16 points from the second-quarter survey.

Among other findings:

  • The three most in-demand positions are lawyers, paralegals and legal secretaries.
  • The practice areas expected to see the most growth in the third quarter are general business/commercial law, labor, and employment and litigation.
  • For the first time since Robert Half Legal began conducting the quarterly hiring survey in early 2010, bankruptcy/foreclosure was not among the top three practice areas.
  • Finding the right talent remains challenging, according to 51% of lawyers, although this number is down eight points from the second-quarter survey. 

More Frivolous Lawsuits

Courts play a critical role in society. A justice system, however, that permits extremely frivolous (and extremely costly) lawsuits demonstrates there is a great deal of room for improvement. Everyone pays the prices for lawsuit abuses. The Heartland Institute looks at a few:

An 18-year-old high school student in shop class attached an electrical cord to one of his nipples with an alligator clamp, while a classmate used another alligator clamp to attach the cord to the student’s other nipple. A third student plugged the cord into an electrical wall socket.

The resulting three-second shock knocked the student to the ground and briefly stopped his heart. The boy survived but allegedly suffered short-term memory loss and brain damage.

Naturally, he’s suing the school and the teacher for failing to warn him it could be dangerous to play with electrical cords.

Turning 14 Days Into Fortnightly, Lawsuit Style

The only previous time I recall hearing the term "fortnight" is when the Wimbledon tennis championship rolls around each summer. The Brits (and the Americans who report on the event) love the word instead of just saying 14 days. Who can blame them? It’s a chance to be different — except when everyone is doing the same thing.

I had the pleasure of attending matches at Centre Court at Wimbldeon a few years ago. My family was able to soak in many of the British traditions, as well as witness a streaker who was trying his best to impress Maria Sharapova. It seemed to take a fortnight to get him off the court and out of the stadium.

But I digress. The topic was fortnight and how it was rarely seen until the Heartland Institute’s development of the Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly. When I first became aware of this online reality look at just what’s wrong with our court system and why it costs us so much money, the updates were coming infrequently (at least not on a fortnightly basis). The British must have complained, because the 2009 updates have been appearing like fortnightly clockwork.

While I’m happy to see the time schedule aligned, it’s sad that the editors can so easily come up with enough cases of abuse to share on a biweekly basis — or every 14 days —  or fortnightly.

My favorite from the current edition is below. Read all the latest bizarre news.

A 78-year-old Wisconsin woman is suing the Monroe, Wisconsin senior citizens center after she was barred from it for violating the center’s code of conduct.

She alleges the center violated her right to free speech and its code of conduct is unconstitutional after the center wrote her saying she failed to treat others with respect, used abusive language, and physically threatened others. The center said they’d let her back in if she completed an anger management course.

“She, in my view, is entitled to [compensation], but her main goal is to be able to enjoy the senior center,” said her attorney.