In his new book Failing Law Schools, Washington University law professor Brian Tamanaha cites a remarkable statistic. American law schools, he reports, produce 45,000 new graduates each year; but recruiters expect only 25,000 job openings annually through 2018. Leave aside for a moment the implications of this mismatch for the legal education industry: what should your law firm do with this information?
The traditional response would have you rubbing your hands in anticipation: a glutted market oversupplied with new associates should drive down starting lawyer salaries for years to come. More likely, however, this imbalance will soon self-correct with smaller classes and fewer law schools; and in any event, first-year associate compensation hardly follows normal market rules. The larger question is: why are you still recruiting from law schools at all?
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