CHICAGO, Nov. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Challenging the status quo, Chicago attorney, Matt Willens, is putting his money on the line to stem the rising tide of newly-minted lawyers clogging up and bringing down the legal profession. The Anything But Law School scholarship offers $1,000 to the winning college graduate who pursues a graduate degree outside of law.
"The situation has become untenable," says Willens. "Too many of our best and brightest are pursuing a career where there just aren't any more seats at the table."
The data supports his position. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 10% increase in job opportunities for lawyers for the decade ending in 2020, but warns: "Competition for jobs should continue to be strong because more students are graduating from law school each year than there are jobs available." That fundamental fact has serious consequences for those seeking a career in law.
The American Bar Association, in a draft report, described the problem of too many graduates and too much debt: "the predicament of so many students and recent graduates who may never procure the sort of employment they anticipated when they enrolled."
"Lawyers don't finish their education when they graduate," says Willens. "They need extensive training and mentoring to develop their skills. But when new graduates hang a shingle because they can't find employment, their clients are wronged and their own growth is stunted. They never reach their potential and the profession suffers. Many will never be employed in the profession at all."
Surprisingly, Willens isn't against law schools. In fact, he thinks they do the job too well. They are producing well-educated graduates at a pace that can't be sustained. In 2012, law schools awarded degrees to 46,000 graduates. Nine months later, only 27,000 had found full-time jobs as lawyers. In some parts of the country, as few as one in four is able to find work.
One scholarship isn't going to have a huge impact, and Willens realizes this. However, he hopes to make potential law students aware of what they face. "These are some of our best and brightest. They can research the numbers and see what lies ahead – provided they get a warning in time." This is especially so when a law degree can easily exceed $100,000 and when student debt isn't dischargeable through bankruptcy. Outstanding student loan debt for 2012 averaged $168,000 for students who took out loans.
The innovative Anything But Law School scholarship will be awarded on August 1st, 2014. Applications can be submitted through the Willens Law Offices website: www.willenslaw.com.
Reporters wishing interviews or more information on this subject are urged to contact Matt Willens at:
30 North La Salle Street #3450
Chicago, IL 60602
Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Legal/Lawyers.htm
American Bar Association Draft Report: http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/professional_responsibility/taskforcecomments/task_force_on_legaleducation_draft_report_september2013.authcheckdam.pdf
San Jose Mercury News (background): http://www.mercurynews.com/education/ci_24192739/law-schools-at-crossroads-weak-job-prospects-high
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SOURCE Willens Law Offices