Law School Grads Scramble as Big Firms Slash Hiring

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2009 7:51 AM CDT
Barack Obama, teaching law at the University of Chicago.   (AP Photo/Obama for America, File)
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(Newser) – Top law school grads are competing this fall for just half the number of entry-level positions big firms offered last year, in what the New York Times calls the most difficult employment season in half a century. One of New York's biggest firms has cut its hires by more than 50%, while a respected Philadelphia firm has foregone hiring completely. At top-ranked Yale, many leading law firms aren't even bothering to recruit.

Students who took on heavy debt to attend prestigious law schools, with what the Times calls an "implicit arrangement" that they would land a high-paying job, find themselves scrambling to land jobs in lower-paying markets, in government, or public-interest firms. “Had I seen where the market was going," says one who went to Penn, "I would’ve gone to a lower-ranked but less expensive public school. I’m questioning whether law school was the right choice at all.”