Between 2005 and 2014, applications to accredited law schools in the U.S. have declined 40%, reports Jacob Gershman in The Wall Street Journal.
Some leverage that trend as positive for the employment prospects of future lawyers. That's because with fewer lawyers being put on the marketplace there will be reduced competition. Not so fast. The law of supply and demand still rules.
Fewer lawyers will not be a significant development if demand does not increase or even significantly declines. Here's an analogy. The creation of the affordable Model-T car downsized the demand for blacksmiths to maintain horses. Although fewer might have entered that line of work, demand still was on and stayed on a downward spiral. The blacksmithing industry never did recover, did it?
The growing number of factors affecting demand negatively are well-known. They include technology, DYI, reluctance of corporations to litigate, outsourcing and alternate dispute methods mandated by employers. Others may emerge.
Of course, there will always be some demand for legal counsel. But, overall, the field is not a promising one to consider entering. The odds are against the ability to make a good living or to advance.