An interesting article in USA Today could signify the arrival of a new type of campus-related protest in America. In it, Mary Beth Marklein reported that a new generation of law students and graduates is rising in protest over the failure of law schools to give them honest accountings of the job market and their professional prospects. She wrote: “Law schools, once viewed as a guaranteed path to a high-paying career, are coming under fire as disillusioned graduates find a tighter job market than they say they were led to expect… A small but growing coalition of graduates, on blogs with names like ‘Scammed Hard’ and ‘Shilling Me Softly,’ blame their alma maters for luring them into expensive programs by overstating their employment prospects.”
Two Vanderbilt law students have founded a new organization, “Law School Transparency,” which has asked 200 law schools to submit data about salaries and employment for recent graduates, which they plan to make available on line. According to Marklein, one recent grad has even gone on a hunger strike to protest his predicament and the situation.
Though most grads end up employed (88% of the class of 2009), many languish in part-time or temporary positions, and pay is often shockingly disappointing. And, of course, there is the problem of debt, the new version of American Apple Pie. The average debt for a public law school grad is about $60,000 and slightly over $90,000 for private school counterparts. One Georgetown grad quoted in the article is drowning in debt amounting to $175,000. “If you count on law schools to do the right thing, you’re going to be waiting a long time,” he told Marklein.