Do you like reading, writing, and research?
Do your friends and family say your strongest skill is the ability to argue any point?
Are you considering becoming an attorney?
You’ve probably read recent news reports about the glut of attorneys in the United States. Some recent law school graduates have even sued their law schools, alleging fraudulent recruiting and placement statistics. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has tracked un- and under-employment among lawyers for several years now. While the economic prediction models suggest that there will be a growth in legal occupations in the next 10 years, the current surplus of lawyers – the number of law school graduates compared to the number of job openings for attorneys – will persist.
No longer is a law degree a guarantee of success as a practicing attorney. There are many reasons for this. The legal profession itself is changing, as internet providers like LegalZoom and other companies allow individuals to contract for cut-rate basic legal services. Software products provide templates allowing people to write their own wills and contracts. Some corporations rely on paralegals to do more of their basic legal work.
If you’re interested in pursuing a legal career, consider these questions. What is better for you: Law school or a post-baccalaureate paralegal training program? How much does the cost of a legal education matter to you? If you’re looking at law schools, what’s better – public or private? What is the school’s placement rate after graduation? And how does the school calculate that – do they count any employment, or only employment as an attorney, law clerk, or legal researcher?
The BLS predicts that there will be robust demand for in-house corporate attorneys, in government and politics, and for litigation specialists. Relatively new practice areas – like campaign finance law – are promising areas for job growth. But overall, the prospects for employment are uncertain. A great book to read to help you decide if a legal career is for you is Steven Harper’s The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis (2013).
A law degree can also help you launch a career in business, politics, government, academia, or even in healthcare administration. A legal education can be invaluable, and the skills you learn as a History major will help you succeed. History has often been a major of choice for pre-law students. Many of our alumni have gone on to law school and had satisfying legal careers. A History B.A. combined with a Legal Studies Certificate is a great way to test the intellectual waters – is a legal career right for you? If so, in what capacity? Do you have the drive, energy and commitment to go to law school? This option might just help you make that important decision!
Our History B.A./Legal Studies Certificate GE planner is here.