How about Harvard Law?
Apparently they’re having trouble getting applicants.
Or so you’d think, based on the changes they’ve just announced.
It’s long been known that law schools have suffered. Oddly, after the financial crisis, law school hiring tanked and never recovered. That happened in financial services too but that sector recovered way more than the legal industry did. After a few years of a dismal hiring market for freshly minted lawyers, enrollment at law school and then law applications took a hit. We’ve even hypothesized before that all those wanna-be lawyers have infiltrated the market for the MBA, given how just lately, the bschools have been seeing an increase in applications every single year. There’s still plenty of young people out there looking to advance themselves with spiffy new careers. It’s just that they’re pursuing different fields these days. The law has lost its lustre.
As a consequence to the downward trends, a few law schools from competing universities in a particular region have merged (crazy! schools merging?!?), and others have scaled back.
Now, we’re seeing Harvard Law – obviously one of the leaders in the market for legal education – innovating.
Or, not so much innovating, as copying HBS.
- Accept the GRE instead of the LSAT
- Ditch the requirement for a deposit for admitted students (?????)
- Start a deferred enrollment track that largely resembles HBS 2+2, where college seniors apply and commit to attending later on, after a few years in the workforce
They’ll also now conduct admissions interviews via Skype, which apparently is a big deal (dang, all that innovation is making us feel faint!!).
Just like we discussed the other day, when Harvard changes requirements, it gives other schools permission to do the same. We saw that with HBS and essay questions, and with this announcement, it’s highly likely that other law schools will loosen up and start playing with the formula.
And it makes sense. After all, things like standardized admissions tests don’t test for knowledge of a particular subject. They test for the ability to work hard and apply yourself to studying. It’s about time that somebody acknowledged this. (HLS apparently did a study where they compared test scores for students who had taken both the LSAT and the GRE and followed those students’ performance through the first year of law school.) Being a good standardized test taker means that you’re able to suck it up and do the work of learning how to handle the requirements of that test. The tests themselves are quite different, but who cares? They’re all super hard. If you can excel at the LSAT, then it’s highly likely you’d also be able to figure out the idiosyncrasies of the GRE – or the GMAT. Which is sure to come as an alternate for law admissions, too.
But this is an MBA blahg. For BSers interested in business. Why would we be suggesting that you consider law school instead? Especially if nobody is hiring lawyers??
Well, we do know that there’s way more you can do with a law degree besides just practicing the law. If the changing world order has gotten you interested in politics, then law school is an excellent platform from which to launch your work to change the world.
What about more traditional business careers, like consulting and finance?
Here’s what Yale Law says about it on their careers page :
Consulting firms seek candidates with strong analytical and quantitative skills, teamwork capability, leadership, interpersonal skills, presentation skills, energy, flexibility, maturity, and creativity. Because the large consulting firms have offices around the world, they are also interested in candidates with strong foreign language skills. Typically consulting firms will hire upperclasss students for summer and permanent positions. Like law firms, the large management consulting firms offer full-time employment to summer interns who successfully navigate the summer experience.
So short answer: Business careers are definitely possible coming out of law school.
Or at least, being formally trained in the law can help you in situations like these .
Obviously law school is different from bschools; for starters, it’s usually three years instead of two, which means a significantly greater commitment of time and money. If you’re headed to law school for a business career then you’ll likely need to be scrappier about your job search, since you’ll be at least somewhat off the standard track.
However, all the top schools have cross-polination among law and business programs, and if you’re headed to bschool for an MBA, you will undoubtedly at some point in your educational journey end up sitting in a classroom with students who are enrolled at the law school instead.
When a staid institution like Harvard Law is making changes to its admissions like has been announced recently, you know the market for candidates has shifted.
What are your career goals? Why do you REALLY want an MBA? Are you sure that that’s the best way for you to make a difference in the world?
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