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Being a Lawyer is Considered the Worst Job Ever: Even US News Ranks Being a Massage Therapist a Better Job

published October 27, 2017

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  • Massaging bodies and massaging the law don’t in any way compare.
  • And yet, being a massage therapist ranks higher as a profession than a lawyer.
  • Even so, the practice of law still holds its allure, and here’s why:
Summary: Few professions outshine the practice of law, including, yes, being a massage therapist.
 
Being a Lawyer is Considered the Worst Job Ever: Even US News Ranks Being a Massage Therapist a Better Job

In 2014, U.S. News and World Report surprised the legal community when they announced that the practice of law as a profession ranked worse than being a nail technician. Considering the money, time, and energy it takes to become a lawyer, it was intriguing to realize that a nail technician with a substantially shorter amount of education – not to mention an education that is far less elite and challenging, nonetheless had a better gig. That year, the publication ranked “Lawyer” as the 51st best job in the country, and buffing nails (#49) or popping pimples (#29) beat out filing briefs for a top-tier spot. While this abysmal showing for lawyers should have been a wake-up call for the industry, the job of attorney continues to drop on the Best Jobs scale.

 
Three years later, U.S. News reported that the law profession plummeted to the 61st best job in the country, a ten spot drop from 2014. On their 2017 Best Jobs list, healthcare and technology positions dominated the top tier. Those jobs are well-paying and rewarding, and the low unemployment rate can make any bright-eyed student consider going into those fields instead of racking their brain taking the LSAT.
 
On the 2017 Best Jobs list, nail technician was no longer listed as a better job than that of an attorney, but interestingly enough, a massage therapist was listed. While massage therapists have the benefit of delighting their customers by making them feel good, how did a job with a median income of $38,040 beat out the job of being a lawyer? Well, maybe because the old adage is true. Money isn’t everything.
 
When creating its list, U.S. News said that it examined a variety of factors, not just money, to determine what made a job a Best Job. Salary was one component, but so was challenging work without too much stress, room for advancement, and work-life balance. Being a lawyer is a profession that is known to pay well and has much room for advancement. But when it comes to stress and work-life balance, of which there historically has been little within the practice of law, the lack of those two work facets may be the reason why the legal profession continues to drop in desirability.
 
So what does this mean for lawyers and aspiring attorneys? Should people still apply to law school? Or should people consider careers other than law? While choosing a career is a personal decision, let’s examine the pros and cons of being a lawyer. While healthcare, technology, and massage therapist may be better ranked, being a lawyer still has alluring qualities.

4 Reasons Why Law Is Still a Good Career Choice:

1. The job market for lawyers is growing.

When deciding on a career, people mostly want to know—what’s the job market like? For lawyers, the legal job market appears to be doing well, but this statistic has been put into question.
 
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for law practitioners is growing at a rate of 6% from 2014 to 2024. In that period of time, there will be about 42,800 more attorney jobs available. While this increase sounds promising, it should be noted that law schools graduate over 30,000 people each year, and many of those graduates do not immediately find full-time work that requires a J.D. degree.
 
However, a study from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) has deemed the job market for law school graduates to be relatively healthy. For instance, the class of 2015’s employment rate was 86.7%. This number was less than the employment rate of 2007’s class, but since 2014, the rate has been relatively steady. There are less entry-level lawyer jobs available than before but also less law school graduates looking for work. Additionally, while law schools may graduate thousands, not all of them pass the bar in July, which affects their job placement just as much as the market.
 
Law school graduates from elite universities such as Yale or Harvard continue to not experience problems getting work, and experienced attorneys with niche practices are also doing well. Harrison Barnes of BCG Attorney Search, one of the nation’s leading legal recruitment firms, said that attorneys who specialize in “hot” practice areas such as bankruptcy and healthcare continue to find work. In BCG Attorney Search’s annual State of the American Legal Market report, Barnes noted that he saw a record-number of interviews and placements in 2016 for lawyers with niche practices. 
 
“It is entirely possible that 2017 may be one of the better legal markets on record—comparable with the previous boom years of 1999 and 2005-2006: We saw more interviews and placements in the last three months of the year than we have in the last three months of any year since 2006,” Barnes wrote. “[The legal market] is being led by “niche” practice areas to a great extent.”
 
2. The average median lawyer salary for a lawyer is $118,160 a year.

When it comes to lawyer salaries, we hear stories of people with astronomical wealth and of those less fortunate working for almost $25/hr. However, according to U.S. News, the median yearly income for lawyers is $118,160 a year, with the highest-earning lawyers earning more than $187,200 annually and the lowest-earning making around $55,000. So although there may be horror stories of lawyers working for low pay, the majority are actually making a very comfortable living.
 
Salaries for lawyers depend on several factors; the size of their law firm, their location, and whether or not they have equity. The type of practice matters too. According to The Balance, the following is the most compensated legal jobs:
 
  • Trial lawyer: median annual salary for all lawyers was $133,470 in 2014
  • Intellectual property lawyer: median pay is nearly $143,000 as of 2016, lawyers on the high end can earn almost $270,000 a year
  • Tax attorney: median pay is nearly $99,000 as of 2016, lawyers on the high end can earn almost $189,000 a year
  • Employment and labor lawyer: median pay for an employment lawyer is about $82,000 as of 2016, with some attorneys earning as much as $90,000 a year or more
  • Real estate attorney: the median is $79,000 and these lawyers can earn as much as $149,000 a year
  • Chief Legal Officers/General Counsel: CLOs at major companies can earn up to seven figures
 
The Balance added that other legal jobs such as judges, law school professors, and members of Congress are also high-paying. For instance, as of 2016, a judge can earn a median salary of $156,250, with a range from $153,265 to $174,860. Law school professors and members of Congress also regularly take home six-figures.
 
But while the overall money is great in law, it should be noted that high lawyer salaries also come with a lot of billable hours worked. This heavy workload leads to stress, unhappiness, and in some cases, depression, anxiety, and alcoholism; which could be one reason that U.S. News keeps dropping the practice of law farther down the Best Jobs list.
 
3. The profession of law is a good profession for introverts and extroverts.

Popular belief has us thinking that most lawyers are extroverts who cross-exam criminals at trial or give flamboyant closing statements to save their clients. But in actuality, being a lawyer is a good job for introverts as well because it values their ability to read, write, and think.
According to Wisnik Career Enterprises in New York City, 60% of attorneys are actually introverts.
 
“It’s not something you’d intuitively think, particularly when you think of litigators,” Wisnik told ABA Journal. “But it makes sense. Many lawyers spend a lot of time by themselves—reading, writing, thinking—compared to other jobs where the majority of the work is interacting. Introverts make good lawyers, especially for clients who want a thoughtful answer.”
 
An introvert is someone who gains their energy by being alone, while extroverts gain their energy by surrounding themselves with other people. In American society, extroverts tend to be more valued because of their social skills and ability to put themselves out there. For instance, they can lead crowds or enjoy public speaking because they love the energy of others.
 
But in the legal world, introverts can succeed because interacting with others is not the only path to success. Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking told ABA Journal that introverts can exhibit power in the legal profession without changing who they were. She said that she noticed that many of her fellow lawyers were not commanding attention and chatty. Instead, they exercised power by being measured and deliberate.
 
Job satisfaction is greatly dependent on the work being compatible with your personality, and law’s heavy use of analytical thinking is a great fit for introverts. But that isn’t to say that extroverts also don’t love the legal field and succeed in it. Danielle Benderly of Perkins Coie told ABA Journal that attracting business is still a major component of working at a law firm, and extroverts tend to do well with clients.
 
“Look at the business of practicing law: how we attract clients, the whole profile of the rainmaker,” Benderly said. “There’s an emphasis on public speaking and being out in the community and being a representative of your organization. It’s the same with the impression you make on your colleagues in the office.”
 
 4. Being a lawyer is not a profession that can be replaced by technology.

With the growing advancements in technology, certain jobs are being destroyed. For instance, the smiling checkout faces we once saw at Target are now in the process of replacement by self-checkout kiosks, travel agents are nearly nonexistent, and cab drivers are seeing their fares ride off in Toyota Priuses moonlighting as Ubers. But are lawyer jobs at risk of being automated?
 
For years, law firms have looked for ways to help their bottom lines, and some have used software that conducts research and cites sources. What once took days for a team of assistants and associates can now be done in minutes at a fraction of the cost.  
 
But besides artificial intelligence, websites such as LegalZoom have allowed consumers to complete simple legal paperwork such as wills on their own. This has also cut out the need for a lawyer and has given consumers affordable access that wasn’t there before.
 
With these changes, one would think that the job of an attorney is in danger of becoming obsolete, but in actuality, technology has only made the legal world more efficient.
 
“No industry, including the legal industry, is immune from technological advances that may make certain jobs obsolete. But the need for lawyers is not going away,” Tammi Rice, vice president, Kaplan Bar Review told LawCrossing.Just as health and wellness websites and virtual doctor visits cannot replace in-person checkups, legal guidance often requires the type of judgment, interpretation and ethical lens that AI (Artificial Intelligence) cannot provide.
 
Lawyers act as counselors, advocates, and your greatest champions throughout any legal process. Though it’s possible to see how AI might replace some of the work done by junior associates today, we see technology as a boon to the legal industry, not necessarily the adversary of those who work in it. It’s why we encourage law schools students to take experiential learning opportunities, differentiate themselves by learning more than legal theories, and make themselves as valuable as possible.”
 
Technology is allowing access to legal resources that were not previously available, but lawyers will have their jobs protected because it is still a requirement to be licensed in order to practice law. So although artificial intelligence may do routine work, at the end of the day, a lawyer is still needed to litigate and navigate most transactions.
 
James Yoon, a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, told New York Times that he has noticed downsizing in recent years but that clients continue to be willing to pay for quality legal service.
 
“For the time being, experience like mine is something people are willing to pay for,” Yoon said. “What clients don’t want to pay for is any routine work.”

Frequently Asked Questions
 

Is Lawyer A Good Job?

 

Benefits of Being a Lawyer


Having this legal profession comes with several advantages, no matter what type of lawyer you are. A career in this field may be right for you if you understand the benefits it offers. Here are 11 benefits of this profession:
 

Variety of Career Options


As a lawyer, you have multiple career options both in the public and private sectors. Upon passing the bar exam, you can choose the specialty that piques your interest. As a prosecutor, you can represent the citizens in your local community, or as a defense attorney, you can protect innocent lives. You can find fulfillment in this profession in a variety of ways, including real estate and corporate law.
 

Starting Your Own Business


As soon as you have your law degree and a decent amount of experience, you can start your own business. You can decide how you want to operate your own law firm when you have your own business. You can work with multiple clients at a time if you prefer the social aspect of this career, or you can work with a single client for an extended period if you want greater consistency and job security.
 

Lucrative Career


Lawyers are able to earn a generous income. The average lawyer earns $50,979 per year. You may not earn this income as a new lawyer, but you can achieve it with enough experience and hard work. Your annual salary may not be worth as much as finding satisfaction in your field.
 

Intellectual Stimulation


Lawyers are faced with a variety of mental challenges and stimulation on a daily basis. In some cases, you may be required to understand complex legal theories and determine the likely outcome of a case for your clients. Creating a legal strategy to help your client in court requires you to solve legal problems, create a hypothesis and form a legal strategy.
 

Flexibility

Most lawyers can tailor their schedules to fit their particular needs, even if some lawyers have unpredictable schedules. Some law firms allow you to work from home if you work for them. It gives you a greater work-life balance since you can spend more time with your family. In addition, an assistant will help you with your duties.
 

Adaptable Skills


When you become a lawyer, you can gain and develop several skills that can be transferred to another career, whether it is within the legal field or outside of it completely. Your negotiation skills can be used in a real estate profession, your problem-solving skills can be used as a customer service representative, or your research skills can be used as a legal consultant.
 

Ability to Help Others


Lawyers can assist businesses and individuals in need. In addition to the opportunity to seek justice for these individuals, this profession also provides you with emotional rewards. This can be more beneficial than the money you earn in your profession, depending on your perspective. Even more emotionally satisfying than winning a case is resolving a client's legal issues.
 

Work Environment


Lawyers often work in a law firm, corporation, or government agency during the day. Therefore, they can avoid the traditional office cubicle provided by most professions. This is particularly beneficial if you prefer an open layout.
 

Work Perks


Lawyers have several perks in addition to working in a pleasant environment. Lawyers can also benefit from a decorating budget so that they can create a more productive work environment. Aside from plush accommodations, gym memberships, and support staff to help minimize their workload, other work perks may be available.
 

Argue and debate


Trial lawyers do not all argue in court, but many do. This career may be for you if you enjoy challenges and debating with others. During a court case, you have not only the opportunity to present your findings, but also to debate legal theories, interpret laws, and prove your point to the judge, jury, and others.
 

Prestige


Lawyers are seen by many as one of the most prestigious professions. Typically, this is due to their impressive degrees and their position of authority over others. The media often portrays this profession as glamorous and demanding.
 

Drawbacks of Being a Lawyer


There are several enticing advantages to becoming a lawyer, but you should also take into account the drawbacks. This career may be suitable for you if these drawbacks do not outweigh the cons. Here are 11 disadvantages of this occupation:
 

High-Stress Situations


Meeting deadlines and client demands is important in this profession. Additionally, you may have to deal with stressful and emotional cases that can adversely affect your mental health. To succeed in this career, you must have control over your emotions.
 

Long Hours

You may need to work long hours on some days, even if you have a flexible schedule. New lawyers usually have to work long hours on some days. Depending on the case they are working on, some lawyers put in 60 to 90 hours a week instead of the normal 40 hours.
 

Expensive Education


Law schools are often expensive. The better the law school, the more expensive it will be. New lawyers may struggle to repay their debt even with a generous salary.
 

Not as Many Client Opportunities


Legal advice and counsel do not always have to be obtained from a lawyer. Recent years have seen a rise in self-service products, self-help legal websites, and virtual law offices. Despite the fact that these may not always be the most reputable options on legal matters, they still divert prospective clients away from lawyers.
 

Client's Are Not Spending as Much


Increasingly, clients are aware of legal fees and how much lawyers charge for their services. Lawyers are forced to offer more reasonable rates to retain clients when they are more aware of their legal spending. If they are charged an amount that seems excessive, they may take their business elsewhere to find the help they need at a lower price. If your legal fees are too high, potential clients might turn to a paralegal or use technology to get answers. As a result, lawyers lose profits and business.
 

The Threat of Outsourced Legal Work


As many foreign countries have a lower cost of living, they also have a lower cost of labor. In comparison with the United States and other developed countries, they are able to complete the same amount of work for a lower price. When this happens, fewer traditional jobs become available because they go to regional delivery centers or overseas low-wage workforces.
 

Negative Stigma


There is always the possibility you could earn a bad reputation as a lawyer, even though it is a reputable career. If you win your cases, you may still face negative public perceptions and jokes.
 

Difficult Clients


Lawyers can often select which clients they want to represent. It may be difficult to afford this luxury if you wish to earn a steady income. Some clients may be friendly and professional, but this may not always be the case. Although you may not particularly like some of your clients, it is your responsibility to offer them the best representation to maintain your reputation.
 

Competitive Job Market

Even though the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 4% job growth in the next decade, there is expected to be strong competition for this profession in the job market. As a result, the number of recent graduates continues to outpace the number of available jobs. Legal professionals may find it difficult to find worthwhile positions-or any positions at all-when job opportunities are few and far between.
 

Increased Reliance on Technology


With the rise of technology, the legal landscape has changed. In order to become a successful lawyer, you must be familiar with a wide range of technological platforms, such as management tools, spreadsheets, and billing programs. Individuals who are not as technologically savvy can find it challenging to keep up with these technological advances. Technology has also contributed to the rise of online legal services that provide clients with lower-cost legal assistance.
 

Law Changes


It is crucial for a lawyer to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the law. In order to ensure that you are following current legal practices and regulations, you will need to conduct a lot of research on each case. Staying on top of these changes can be overwhelming and cause long days at the office, even when it is not always the case.
 

Is Law A Good Career?


There have almost always been legal services jobs on the list of the best-paying jobs in the US, which makes it an attractive career choice for many. Following is a list of the top 10 legal careers in the United States based on factors such as popularity, salary, and job satisfaction.
 

1. Litigation and Trial Lawyers


A trial lawyer, representing clients in both civil and criminal litigation, is in high demand.  Litigation and trial lawyers rank among the highest-paid and get well paid when they win cases for their clients. Depending on where they work and what cases they handle, their initial salary and experience can differ.
 

2. General Counsels


Corporations have general counsels who head their legal departments. Usually, they earn a salary at the executive level and may earn more money through stocks or options.
 

3. Judges


Judges benefit from healthy benefits, expense accounts, and retirement contributions made on their behalf, which increases their compensation package.
 

4. Academia


It can be very difficult to get a teaching assistant position at a law school. The law school professors would need a law degree from a top law school, high grades, experience in practice law, publication in scholarly journals, etc., making law school teaching in the US one of the best paying jobs. Salary is determined by the institution, location, experience, and level of education.
 

5. Arbitrators, Mediators, or Conciliators


Arbitrators are usually attorneys or have specific industry expertise. As an impartial third party, they hear and decide disputes between opposing parties. A mediator, on the other hand, helps people resolve their disputes. Similar to mediators, conciliators help guide opposing sides to a settlement.
 

6. Litigation Support Roles


Using computer systems, litigation support aims to organize, analyze, and present case materials. Lawyers in litigation support roles earn good salaries and possess law degrees or advanced degrees in technology, business, or finance.  Legal professionals are increasingly choosing to take on these roles as technology controls the legal process, legal research, database management, and administrative functions.
 

7. Legal Specialist Roles


Legal specialties in specific industry areas are becoming increasingly popular. In addition to drafting, editing, and updating legal documents and validating their accuracy, legal specialists may assist in scheduling, obtaining equipment, and editing presentations and notes. The majority of the work involves developing, implementing, and validating document management, version control, and discovery processes within the organization.
 

8. Law Firm Administration


A law firm administrator generally works regular hours and earns a good salary in larger firms. Mostly, they handle the business and administrative aspects of running a law firm, as well as non-legal aspects of law practice such as business development, human resources, facilities management, technology, marketing, and practice management. It is a great career choice for those seeking a regular working-hour job in the legal industry.
 

9. International Organizations


Despite being among the lowest-paying jobs, candidates often consider careers with international organizations such as the United Nations, international charities, or campaigning groups. A career working for an international organization would appeal to many law students and graduates with a background in law and an interest in international relations.  Despite being rewarding in the long run, there are few opportunities for new graduates to work in this field other than as an intern or volunteer.
 

10. Law Firm Consultant/Legal Recruiter


Consulting for law firms offers a varied work environment, flexibility, and the opportunity to attend meetings, travel, and meet people. For new hires, top US law firms rely heavily on legal recruiters. Legal recruiters are able to identify and interview bright law graduates. Candidates with some experience in recruitment have a better chance of getting hired for this position.
 

Is Being A Lawyer Worth It?

 

5 Things to Consider Before Becoming a Lawyer


The rumors of unhappy lawyers are not unfounded. According to Forbes, the position of associate attorney is the "unhappiest job in America." A Johns Hopkins study of over 100 professions found that lawyers are four times more likely to suffer from depression than the average person.

Even with statistics like these, job seekers are still attracted to becoming lawyers. Among the most appealing factors is earning potential. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for lawyers in 2016 was $118,160. Some people see the pay as just a cherry on top of a career in which they can help enforce justice and influence their communities for the better.

Certainly, these perks are nothing to scoff at, but before making a decision, it is important to understand the whole picture. Check out some of the truths of a lawyer's life that are not necessarily publicized before jumping to any conclusions.
 

1. The Challenging Years of Law School


Lawyering is not for the faint of heart. The BLS reports that becoming a lawyer typically takes seven years of full-time education. A Bachelor's degree requires four years, followed by three years of law school. In order to gain acceptance into law schools, applicants must pass the challenging law school admission test (LSAT) to prove their worth-a process that can take a full year of study and preparation.

Upon acceptance into law school, a student devotes the next three years to rigorous full-time study and on-the-job training through clerkships or internships. As students study to pass their state's bar exam after graduation, they still face long nights hitting the books. It should go without saying that becoming a lawyer is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
 

2. The Cost of Education


The high-earning potential of lawyers is hard to ignore, but remember that it is usually offset by a large amount of student loan debt. Undergrad students rack up over $37,000 in student loans by graduation day. If you add $34,000 per year for a private law school, newly minted lawyers will be facing debts of up to $139,000 before they even earn their first paycheck.

Once you earn a lawyer's salary, it is tempting to believe you will pay off this debt easily. A student loan burden can add stress to an already stressful career - not to mention that getting your first job may not be as easy as you thought.
 

3. The Potentially Shaky Job Prospects


Getting your dream job as a lawyer should be easy, right? Not necessarily. Although the BLS predicts that employment for lawyers will grow by six percent through 2024, that growth may not be enough to provide jobs for all law school graduates.

According to the American Bar Association (ABA), just 59.2 percent of 2015 law school grads held full-time, long-term jobs as lawyers 10 months after graduation. Students who take on substantial student loan debt to pursue a law career may find themselves in a very difficult position. New lawyers might be stuck in an area of practice they do not enjoy because they need to earn money, which can in turn lead to lower job satisfaction.
 

4. A Sometimes Stressful Work Environment


As a result of billable hours, corporate lawyers can expect to work well over the typical 40-hour workweek. Yale Law School defines "billable hours" as time a lawyer can bill directly to a client, such as preparing for a court case. Other aspects of a job are non-billable hours, such as checking e-mail, attending meetings, and continuing education. After all, it is said and done, a lawyer may spend up to 50 hours a week in the office.

"Lawyers often work long hours and have heavy workloads, which may lead to increased levels of stress," says the ABA. High stress negatively impacts job satisfaction, not to mention that chronic stress puts workers at risk for heart disease, anxiety, and depression.
 

5. A Typically Pessimistic Mindset


It turns out that many lawyers are actually better at their jobs if they have a pessimistic attitude rather than a rosy outlook, according to the ABA. In order to build an airtight case against the opposition, a lawyer must be able to see all the potential pitfalls.

Sadly, that pessimism does not extend to other areas of life. People who are pessimistic face a number of health risks, including a tendency to struggle with obesity, smoke, and develop other unhealthy habits.
 

The Verdict Is In


Is being a lawyer worth it? You must decide for yourself. It is not for everyone. You do not necessarily have to give up your dream of working in the legal field if you decide the risks do not outweigh the rewards. There are many other career options that might suit your interests and skills better.
 

Are Lawyer Jobs In Demand?


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more students are graduating from law school each year than there are jobs available, so competition for jobs will remain high. Growth in population and general business activity is increasing the need for legal services in a wide range of areas, including health care, intellectual property law, mediation, and antitrust. Despite this demand, large accounting firms and paralegals can perform some of the same functions as lawyers. Therefore, lawyers are finding work in less traditional roles in which legal expertise is valuable but not usually required. Managerial, business and administrative positions are available with banks, insurance companies, and government agencies. Many of these positions are available with larger firms in urban areas where corporations tend to centralize their operations. Due to both competitions from established firms and the costs associated with maintaining an independent legal practice, the number of self-employed lawyers is anticipated to grow slowly. Independent lawyers should look to smaller towns and suburban areas with fewer competitors. Graduates who join legal staffing firms may be able to jumpstart their careers by taking short-term jobs. Law school graduates' employment prospects improve if they are willing to relocate and take another state's bar exam, as well as experience in specialty areas such as tax, patent, immigration, or copyright.
 

What Is The Job Outlook For Being A Lawyer?


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for lawyers is expected to grow by 6% by 2028. However, with the number of law school grads seeking employment in the field, this number may not be sufficient to cover everyone. Furthermore, the BLS notes that more and more law firms are using paralegals or other non-attorney professionals to conduct research and prep work traditionally performed by attorneys.
 

Is The Job Market For Lawyers Really That Bad?

 

Lawyers can expect a good job outlook in 2021.


There is good news for law school graduates and others in the legal profession. More law firms and corporate legal departments are hiring employees in 2021 than they are letting go in the year following the earliest Covid-19 cases that led to a near-shutdown of the economy

A recent survey by Robert Half Legal Consulting Solutions found that 57 percent of respondents were expanding and only 1 percent were eliminating positions. Thirty-seven percent of respondents are bringing back furloughed employees or at least maintaining their current workforce, and five percent are neither filling vacated positions nor creating new ones.

"Firms continue to hire across the board," said Rob Birrenkott, assistant dean for career development at the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill. We were concerned about our class of 2020 entering the job market when the pandemic first hit. Initially, everyone sat back and assessed the situation. After that, hiring resumed."

In addition, very few students who had already secured employment lost their job offers. 

“The only impact we saw was a delay in some start dates,” he said. “Typically, students would sit for the bar exam in July, get their results in September, and have an early fall start date. We saw some start dates pushed back to January 2021.”

The same thing happened at Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.

“We did not have many employers cancel any jobs. If they did anything, they deferred them to the start of the year,” said Ray English, the school’s assistant dean for career and employment services. In the case of a larger firm, the employer often offered a bonus in the range of $10,000 to soften the delay and keep prospective employees committed.

Conclusion

Like any profession, being a lawyer has good and bad aspects, but no matter what ranking it is on the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Jobs list, legal jobs are still well-paying professions that have an active and healthy market.
 
“After several years of stagnant salaries and a challenging job market for lawyers, particularly newly licensed ones, key metrics show an improving employment landscape,” Rice told LawCrossing. “Consider the positive trend lines we are seeing in Big Law, for example. Over the past year, top law firms have significantly boosted starting salaries for new associates. Additionally, after years of plummeting job placement rates, particularly among the less competitive law schools, things are starting to level off.”
 
Like Barnes, Rice maintains that certain niches of practice could expand such as healthcare because of changing policies. She also adds that new technologies could lead to expanding fields such as e-discovery.
 
Have you ever asked yourself if being a lawyer is the right job for you? If so, know that long-hours and stress come with the territory, but so does good pay, stability and meaningful work for almost all personality types. While nail technicians or massage therapists may make headlines for being rated above the legal profession as better professions, it’s safe to say that the rank of a lawyer isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon but up.
 
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