I recently read an article discussing how the Chicago based Willens Law Office, offered an “Anything But Law School Graduate Scholarship“. ( http://tinyurl.com/l5wvb3t ) This begs the question… Is this a good strategy to protect the legal industry from overcrowding? Or is this a prime example of a firm stuck in its way of thinking and failing to have the vision to see where the legal field is going?
Clearly this firm would argue that there are not enough jobs for law school grads. That because of this overcrowding the legal industry is taking damage to its reputation. I would argue that this logic is seriously flawed and shows a lack of vision in the legal community’s future and demonstrates a disconnect between this firm (and possibly others) and the skill set and value of individuals with a JD.
An individual with a JD has many more options available to them than just working in a firm. Perhaps in decades past this was not as true as it is today. However, with economic changes (not just recession, but the globalization of the economy), the transformation of the legal client base, and technological advancements, the number of JD wielding workers that are seeking life outside of firms, and even outside of traditional legal jobs, is soaring.
So to believe that the answer is to have less JD’s floating around the economy really only makes sense if you believe that the degree does not prepare students to be valuable in the modern economy and job market. To get to that conclusion you would have to think that skills such as critical thinking, advanced transaction training, issue spotting, mediation, negotiation, use and formation of contracts, detail orientation, public speaking, etc. etc. etc. are not desired traits.
In the end short sighted thinking such as this firm’s scholarship does more to harm the industry than having more JD’s. It’s my personal opinion that we could always use more well educated, and dedicated leaders in the world.