For several years the Def Land story was about JDs who had received offers of employment from BigLaw, only to have them deferred, some indefinitely. It was not a pretty time. Now, the Def Land story is about business schools with MBA programs. A growing share of those admitted to those are penning well-reasoned requests to defer the day they actually enrol.
In BLOOMBERG BUSINESS WEEK, Kiah Lau Haslett reports on this new trend. Usually in a down economy academic programs bulk up. Why not wait out the recession there, plus emerge more marketable? That conventional thinking has been replaced, at least by those with jobs or successful businesses, with a bird-in-the-hand mindset.
An example is Harvard's 2+2 Program. Admitted in 2009, the Class of 2011 worked for two years. Of the 106 expected to start the Program, only 67 will. The rest will stay working. About 39 of them requested Def Land.
This mindset could become contagious. Those who have jobs or who have started businesses might decide it's too risky to reach for that bird in the bush and enrol in law school. This might even play out for those accepted into prestigious programs. Law school deans should factor this possibility in. The slow economy is expected to endure for years. The norm could be the best and brightest applying to law school, then requesting the exit to Def Land.