Wednesday, January 23, 2013


This commenter hits the nail on the head, from ITLSS.  I share this because the lol skools hammer this selling point hard with non-trads:

(8) You can do a lot of things with a law degree besides practice law.

Let's first redefine "a lot of things with a law degree" to the intended result for an average graduate. You can do a lot of PAYING things with a law degree. For example a law degree qualifies me to do all kinds of volunteer work, which unfortunately does not earn me any money.

Let's also subtract graduates of Harvard and Yale law schools from our sample of law school graduates, since such law degrees are much more likely to produce flexable career results, which are not typical for the rest of the profession. i.e. the signaling value from a graduate program from these two Ivy League law programs, is far stronger, then almost all the other law schools, though I suppose people could argue about Stanford or the University of Chicago or Columbia. These Harvard and Yale are approximately 1% of our law school sample.

If you apply for a job that does not require a law degree from almost any other law school you then have to deal with the standard question. "Is he more argumentative then the rest of our applicants?" "Is he more likely to sue?" "Is he more likely to jump back into the law". and my favorite, "I don't care what he brings to the table, since my contested divorce I've hated all lawyers!" Given the economy its far easier for the HR department to simply exclude the lawyer from the non-legal job, and instead take no risk, by choosing all the obvious round pegs for the round employment openings they need to fill.

Let's collectively call this the JD disadvantage.

Now perhaps, in a small minority of cases, Catbert the HR director actually prefers JD holders over non JD holders for a job that does require such a degree. Perhaps there is something in his or her background that influences this choice.

However, I do not need to prove that a JD is ALWAYS a disadvantage when applying for a job that does not require such a degree, I am only arguing that the majority of the time, based admittedly on antidotal evidence that JD Disadvantage exists, and that the applicant would have been more likely to have obtained that non-legal job, with a degree other then a JD.

Straight up, anonymous.  Be sure you bring copious backing and connections before taking the dive, non-trads.  (How the 20-something set is supposed to have these without family money is unclear to me, but hey...versatile JD blah blah blah). 

As the learned courts have told us regarding law school claims: cavaet emptor.


  1. Took me about three years post JD to realize there was such a thing as a JD disadvantage. Until then, I'd assumed people were awed by my presTTTigious law degree. Fortunately, one day a person in a hiring position told me that he wasn't, and wanted someone who had concentrated on their career.

    Nothing like a T2 education that's of no interest to lawyers and poison to other employers.

    1. Sad, but definitely true. I used to think "what is up with these people who can't connect the dots?" Hiring managers seem adverse to hiring JDs even for contract administration, compliance, gov't agency positions, and the like, which still doesn't make complete sense to me in a lot of cases.

      In any event, it turns out it was me who couldn't see through the law school smoke screen to the reality of the JD in the marketplace, until it was too late. Welcome to the club.


    Make sure to print the story above, with a color printer - and frame the bastard!

    1. One can only pray that this is the beginning of an avalanche. Amen!