The Value of a Law Degree
January 30, 2013
If you’re like 99.9% of others studying for the LSAT, at some point (probably when you were staring through blurry eyes at a logic game) you’ve wondered “is it really worth it?” You’ve already got (or are close to having) a college degree; some of your friends are already (or are about to be) earning money in the “real world” – heck, you may be studying for the LSAT after a full day in your own full time job. Law school is, after all, a 3 year commitment – not only will you not be earning much money during that time, but you’ll also be shelling out the big bucks for your legal education.
In fact, you may not even be sure what you want to do with your law degree – and I can tell you from experience that even if you think you know what you’ll be doing 5, 10 or 20 years from now there’s an excellent chance you’re wrong and you’ll end up doing something completely different.
As depressing as those two paragraphs may have been, here’s the really good news: in the job market, “J.D” are two of the most valuable initials you can have after your name. Of course many law grads go on to practice law, but many others end up in academia, business, law enforcement and the foreign service, among a myriad of other fields. Further, the training you’ll receive in law school – especially how to think critically (not coincidentally, the basis of the LSAT) – will make you a huge asset in just about any field.
A recent article on CNN.com backs up the value of higher education, even (or perhaps especially) in a depressed economy. Here are a couple of highlights of Annalyn Kurtz’s piece:
- While workers with a bachelor’s degree reported 5% employment gains, those with a master’s, doctorate or professional degree reported 6.7% gains – the highest of any portion of the population. Those with a high school (or lower) level of education are still reporting negative job growth – more of them are losing jobs than are finding new ones.
- Even when working in a job for which your education makes you overqualified, you’re better off: over-educated workers earn 37% more than under-educated workers in the same field.
So, next time you’re doubting whether all that LSAT studying is going to pay off, remember: while a law degree is no longer the guarantee of high-paid employment that it once was, it still leaves you with nearly unlimited options and a huge competitive advantage over members of the less-educated workforce.