To law school that is. I saw a short article this morning about the value of a law degree in a divorce case. A judge held that a wife’s J.D. added $126,000 to her earning power. (I’m not sure about the wife’s age or experience or what kind of law she practices, but it seems the court valued her degree less than what she paid for it.)
I know I’ve written about this before, but I’m thinking about it again as I continue my job search/ hiatus. What value does my law degree have now, and what value will it have 20 years from now? I feel like it’ll all be worth it, but I must say the dream of a life without loans is a sweet one.
Most entry-level attorney jobs (besides big-firm jobs) don’t pay that much more than the starting salary at a non-lawyer job. The earning potential is more with a law degree, but if you’re smart enough, put your time into working your way up and don’t act like a jerk then you can have similar earning potential.
But it wouldn’t be the same. People are still going to law school in droves and I believe having a J.D. increases your earning capacity, even as society’s view of what it means to be a lawyer changes and even though the payoff can seem impossible now.
Most law graduates are still finding employment even if it is in a “non-lawyer” type positions, like working for their law school in some capacity. And while some may bash these positions, they sound pretty good to me; decent hours and salary while gaining legal experience. The J.D. may not be “required,” but let’s face it — it would be a hard feat to get these jobs without a law degree.
What do you think? Is law school still a good investment or is it a road to nowhere, tempting people who want to feel a sense of accomplishment but who are unprepared for the real world come graduation?