What Law Students Are Saying about the Recession

by Vault Education Editors | June 26, 2009

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The past year's economic downturn has affected most every working American; if not personally, then by way of friends, family or coworkers. Some would argue, however, that those feeling the weight of the crunch the hardest are those not even yet in the job market, and who owe tens of thousands of dollars in loans: law students. And as this spring took a turn for the worse in the law industry, career services offices, impending graduates and current students were forced to think fast and tweak--or completely alter--their placement strategies.

The past few months, the law school recruitment system has been turned upside down, forcing students and graduates to rethink everything they'd always known about the trusty, well-worn path to BigLaw. Some of the most prestigious law firms have been forced to defer their new associate classes until 2010 or later, sometimes offering a portion of the promised salary in exchange for public interest work, or just to stay away. Less fortunate graduates have had offers reneged completely, with a small "we're sorry" stipend, and the worst-case scenario bunch have not been able to find jobs or summer associate positions at all. And, sadly, it won't stop with the class of 2009--one top law firm has already deferred start dates for the class of 2011.

This year, while reading through the Law School Buzz Book survey entries, we paid close attention to how law schools and law students are dealing with the recession. Some have put their job search on steroids, some have flown the coop--more 1Ls are studying abroad for the summer rather than in a summer associate or other position, and tons of students of all years are accepting unpaid or public interest positions--and others are just searching for their heads.

To give you an inside peek into the minds of law students, we will be publishing a few of the responses from our 2009 survey. In the next few days, we'll feature different methods in response to the madness, and how real students are dealing with the law school employment scramble. So stay tuned!

-Posted by Megan Cassidy

Filed Under: Education

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