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Warnings Aside, Parents Still Want Their Kids to Grow Up to Be Lawyers

A new survey from Lawyers.com has been making the rounds on law blogs this week, due to its somewhat surprising revelation that, even amid seemingly constant headlines about the shaky job market greeting today's law grads, nearly two-thirds of parents hope that their children will pursue careers in the law.

The survey results were based on 1,001 phone interviews conducted in English and Spanish. Of survey respondents with children in their household, 64 percent said they hope their kids will grow up to be lawyers. Respondents were also asked about whether they would like to have a lawyer as a son- or daughter-in law. A majority of mothers surveyed -- 55 percent -- liked the idea, while future father-in-laws were less keen, with only 38 percent saying they were interested in having their child marry a lawyer.

"Being a lawyer means being a respected professional, and that's something that parents want for their children," Larry Bodine, editor-in-chief of Lawyers.com, is quoted as saying. “Despite the tough economy facing the next generation, it's exciting to note that nearly two-thirds of parents would be happy with a law degree in their child’s future."

But some commentators find the results more alarming than exciting. In a discussion of the survey on Above the Law, Staci Zaretsky is incredulous that the survey respondents seem to be "ignoring all the warnings that have been trumpeted from Above the Law to the New York Times, heedless of the spate of lawsuits that have been filed against law schools over their allegedly deceptive employment statistics, and paying no mind to the horror stories about young lawyers drowning in student loan debt."

Notably, the survey results show a divide based on household income. Eighty percent of parents who make less than $25,000 per year said they'd like for their children to become lawyers, as compared with only 54 percent of those with household incomes over $75,000. For some bloggers discussing the issue, this suggests a troubling knowledge gap about the current status of the legal profession.

"Obviously, there is a dangerous lag in information about career paths among the classes," suggests a post on the Law And More blog. "Upscale parents know that their children will make a good living through becoming entrepreneurs or being employed in the fields of engineering, information technology, and math. Law had been fine, they know. But not any more."

Zaretsky expresses this concern in the ATL post: "Being a lawyer these days is a tough row to hoe, and if you’re hoping your children will be able to have a 'rags to riches' story in the law, you should probably start fixating on another dream career for them."

Posted by Laurel Newby on May 31, 2013 at 04:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

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