The recession might be easing, but that doesn't mean law students will have an easier time finding jobs at top firms this fall,
Law students are competing for about half as many openings at the country's most prominent firms as their classmates were last year. For the first time in decades, the promise of a lucrative corporate law career for top students is uncertain, and in response, growing numbers of students are considering firms in smaller markets, opportunities in government, and jobs with public interest groups.
How bad is it?
As law school costs have skyrocketed over the years, the unspoken agreement between students and the most expensive schools has strengthened--students take on hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to attend the most prestigious schools, and in return, the schools' reputations and career services departments help students land jobs at top firms with hefty starting salaries conducive to paying down that debt.
"It was thought to be this green pasture of stability, a more comfortable life," says
But this expectation is no longer a reality for students like Fanicullo, who belong to the class of 2011.
The timing is worst for the class of 2011, the second-years now looking to get into firms, because of a unique logjam created last year. After the September financial crisis, firms chose to defer their new hires at the price of steeply cutting recruiting this year.
But students who miss the brief window of opportunity to land an offer this fall may struggle to break into firms once next year's class rises. When
"Had I seen where the market was going, I would've gone to a lower-ranked but less expensive public school," she said. "I'm questioning whether law school was the right choice at all."
(c) 2009 U.S. News & World Report