I teach a journalism class at the University of Maryland, College Park. At the end of the semester, I always tell my students that even if they do not want to become journalists, learning how to write clearly and concisely will help them in any career field they choose.
Jim Saksa heard something similar about getting a law degree; that obtaining a J.D. means you can do anything you want. But Saksa, a lawyer, wrote in Slate last week that “the more general sentiment, that a law degree will afford you a wide range of opportunities, is total BS.”
Saksa cites a statistic that 11.2 percent of last year’s law school graduates were still unemployed nine months after graduation. “If you really could do anything with a law degree,” he writes, “then those unemployed graduates would probably be doing something.”
Saksa also talks to people who say having a J.D. while trying to find a non-legal job can be a disadvantage. Here’s the view of an HR manager in Washington, D.C.:
“Generally, I imagine they’re going to be too expensive with not enough relevant experience to justify the salary. It’s lost time. Whatever you learned in law school is not useful to what we need. So every other candidate has three years on you.”
So I’ll put the question to everyone out there, especially our young lawyers reading: Can you do anything you want with a law degree?