Majority of Law Grads Dissatisfied

Only 23% of law school grads believe their education was worth the cost.

In a new survey of 4,000 Americans who completed their postgraduate degrees between 2000 and 2015, Gallup found less than a quarter of law graduates say that their grad school education prepared them for their careers.

“While both medical and law degrees are expensive, law degree holders may be less likely to say their degree was worth the cost because of the weak job market for those with a law degree in recent years,” Gallup’s research states.

Medical School vs. Law School Experience

According to the report, medical and doctoral grads rated their postgraduate degrees highest in terms of cost and value. Law grads reported the lowest satisfaction.

Another potential factor could have to do with support and experiential learning experiences among law students. Only 19% of law grads surveyed say that they had a mentor during law school who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams. Gallup hypothesizes that this stems from the structure of graduate programs.

“For example, doctoral students typically work closely with a faculty adviser and medical students often partner with other doctors during their residency programs as a specific design of their graduate education,” the report says. “Meanwhile, MBA and law school programs typically do not have these mentorship opportunities directly built into their programs.”

Law School Tuition

Cost is one factor. The tuition at top law schools can average over $60,000 per year. According to U.S. News & World Report, the average cost per year is around $43,020 at a private school. For in-state public school education, tuition is priced around $26,264. For out-of-state students at public law school, tuition averages around $39,612.

In terms of salary prospects, the median private sector salary for law grads is $68,300 and $52,000 for median public sector salary, according to U.S. News.

Factoring in the rising cost of law school, it’s apparent that law grads no longer see the value in their expensive degrees.

According to Gallup, success depends on supportive learning experiences.

“While higher education discussions often focus on ways to improve the undergraduate experience, thought leaders in higher education should also consider how to maximize the postgraduate experience,” Gallup reports. “Though the context of undergraduate and postgraduate education may differ, supportive and applied learning experiences are critical to the success of both.”

Sources: Gallup, US News, US News