Kaplan has recently released a survey of students who intend to go to law school. When asked what was most important in their decision which schools to apply to, 32 percent said the school’s ranking, followed by geographic location (22 percent), academic programs (20 percent), affordability (13 percent) and, lastly, job-placement stats (8 percent). With large numbers of recent law grads either unemployed or working in a field other than law, you’d think that job placement would be high on that list.
Students considering law school know that they can’t all get into elite schools, where job placement is presumably stronger than at most mid- and lower-tier schools, but evidently many of them still think that the “beauty pageant” aspect of legal education — that the more glamorous the degree, the better off they’ll be in the long run — trumps immediate employment concerns. Perhaps they anticipate the legal market rebounding to its former self. I think many of them will end up unhappy no matter what law school they go to.