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Unemployed Lawyers Have No One to Blame But Themselves: ABA President

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on January 11, 2012 5:46 AM

If you're unemployed and saddled with debt, it's your own fault -- just ask William Robinson, the president of the American Bar Association.

Robinson sat down with Reuters to address rising tuition costs and the unrealistic expectations held by today's law students. Congress, the media and the profession have accused the trade group of contributing to both problems.

Robinson's response is anything but what you want to hear.

You are not a kid, according to William Robinson. In fact, you're a college-educated adult who should be aware that the job market has fewer opportunities these days. You, and anyone else who decides to go to law school, made "an independent decision and a free choice" to enroll.

But that decision is partially based on statistics submitted to -- and regulated by -- the ABA, right? And haven't we recently learned that those statistics are inflated and misleading?

That is not so, according to Robinson. Only four of the 200 schools with ABA accreditation have submitted inflated employment data!

But what about schools that employ students themselves? Or students who pursue graduate degrees instead of braving the job market? And what percentage of employed law graduates actually use their law degree?

The other 196 schools may not have inflated their data, but that doesn't mean the data hasn't been misleading.

William Robinson can deny it all he wants, but even his own organization has implicitly recognized that it allowed schools to give students false hope. The ABA's Section of Legal Education even overhauled its graduate placement data criteria so "law students will be better informed."

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