A Profession in Decline?

Benjamin Barton, a professor at the University of Tennessee School of Law, offers a sobering assessment of the state of the legal profession–law schools graduating too many lawyers, graduates who can’t find jobs and  a crushing debt load for the majority who don’t win the large law firm lottery and who end up in lower paying jobs.  Barton also lays out the systemic changes to the practice of law including the increased use of technology and contract lawyers (both domestic and international) who perform lower level document review that was once completed by law firms.

He concludes with some positive notes about how the public as a whole will benefit from some of these changes.  But anyone reading this book will think twice about applying to law school.

In truth, the message has already made it to the next generation of wanna be lawyers.  Applications to law school are way down.

It’s a good read and it ties together a number of themes that have been percolating in the legal and popular press (particularly since the Great Recession).