In recent months, law students across the country walked across a stage, shook the hand of their law school’s dean and smiled for the camera. But in many cases, that smile was hollow. With all of the talk these days about the scarcity of employment on law school campuses, there is unfortunately little discussion taking place regarding the future professional satisfaction of our nation’s graduates. Clearly, the obligation to repay large loans and obtain a steady financial stream is a student’s most pressing challenge, but the long-term mental health and well being of the next generation of lawyers is no shrinking matter.
As a third-year law student, I experienced daily the great sense of trepidation on my law school campus regarding the prospect of post-graduation unemployment. Many law school graduates still do not have job offers, and even those of us who have been lucky enough to secure a promise of employment know how fragile these opportunities are in this economy. Besides creating a pervasive state of anxiety on campus (as if law students need anything else to be anxious about), this uncertainty has also completely overshadowed the need to discuss the topic of lawyer satisfaction.