Job prospects down, but fees and applications at law schools are on the rise

November 17, 2010 While the job market in the legal sector remains dire, students are applying to law school in record numbers and are willing to borrow to finance soaring tuition fees.

Between 1996 and 2008 private law schools’ median tuition fees almost doubled, to just under $34,000 a year, and public law schools fees almost trebled, taking the median to around $16,000.

While starting salaries at the largest law firms has roughly doubled in the same period, the salaries at smaller firms have failed to keep up. Meanwhile, the job prospects have been tough since 2009, when firms laid off large numbers of young lawyers, withdrew job offers and froze hiring.

Many law students claim that they have been misled by the tertiary intitutions. Statistics reporting on how many graduates are employed nine months after graduation may be skewed by the inclusion of part-time or temporary jobs, non-legal work, and posts subsidised by the school itself.

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