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It Ain’t Easy Being Green... Or A Lawyer By Todd Schultz Frustrated members of the legal education system have been voicing their concerns on a global scale as of late. In Uganda, the Bar Exam is said to be too difficult for many students to pass, leaving students high and dry in mounds of debt. Law professors in countries like Japan and India say their law schools are not of high enough quality to create decent lawyers. And for the past few months, American law school graduates have launched pointed attacks at American law schools for their lack of transparency.

While the last few months have shown a rise in jobs in the American legal sector, amidst a decline in jobs throughout the rest of the American job market, there is more to the story than job placement alone. The Boston Herald published some statistics that illustrate the financial difficulty many in the legal sector are having. They noted that nine months after graduating from law school, the median salary was somewhere around $68,500. That’s not a bad salary by most standards, however, consider that many law students not only have, on average, $98,806 worth of loans to pay back, but also, in many cases, just as much for their undergraduate degrees. That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt they have to start paying back on a salary that is often half of that. Throw the tough economy and the high prices of basic necessities like gas and groceries, and you’ve got a struggling legal sector. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, who published the information about income, also noted that the legal sector fell victim to over 22,000 job cuts since 2009.

A recent analysis conducted by Lisa Smith, a consultant at Hildebrandt Baker Robbins suggests that during the next five to seven years, around 27 percent of the 65,000 non-partner associates at Am Law 200 firms could either be cut or be sentenced to lower-paying positions. That equals more than 17,000 gone from America’s largest law firms. ‘’If some of these trends we’re seeing now continue, what are the implications of that overall?,’’ said Smith. ‘’All of these shifts are replacing jobs, as opposed to just changing the mix as firms continue to grow.’’ Smith is of the mindset that the legal sector, who touted job growth in recent months, is no different than any other profession during tough economic times. ‘’I think it’s unrealistic for us to expect that the law business is going to be any different than any other business in terms of the changing need for talent. Look at your business media and journalism. The changes have been dramatic and I think we’re seeing this just come a little later to the legal field.’’

The law school professor behind the blog instapundit.com, claims that the job market in the legal sector has gotten weaker over the past few years.

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It Ain't Easy Being Green... Or A Lawyer