In an opinion piece published today, the New York Times leaves little doubt that there are changes afoot in the legal profession. Massive, paradigm-shifting changes.
Amid bursts of unprecedented layoffs and firm closures, young associates are finding themselves with six-figure student loan debt and no source of income.
But the New York Times sees a possible silver lining.
Those left stranded and those still standing may spur the drawing of "blueprints for the 21st century."
So what's going to change?
• Compensation. The out-of-whack pay chasm in which BigLaw lawyers make $160,000 to start while state and local prosecutors start in the mid-to-upper $40,000s is likely to change, with high salaries being reined in. "One industry-watcher says it could fall as low as $100,000. And fewer firms will feel the need to pay the top salary," the Times notes.
• Tuition. Between 1990 and 2003, private law school educations costs rose at nearly three times the rate of consumer prices, with the average graduate now leaving with more than $80,000 in debt. Expect a correction on tuition and more law schools to follow Northwestern University's two-year law school model.
• Curriculum. There may also be pressure on law schools, because of the economic conditions, to retool "sometimes-aimless second and third years" of courses to be more practical in nature, with more emphasis on going into nonlegal careers.
Please be sure to visit www.hardinglaw.com, the website for the law firm of Harding & Associates, for more information on California family law.