It has been reported for some time there is a lawyer glut in California. There are way too many lawyers, or at least a misallocation of lawyers as attorneys try to service businesses in the metro areas while basic rural needs go wanting.

In part, blame falls on the incredible debt lawyers incur in law school. The state has taken the position lawyers will make a lot of money so they can afford to pay astronomical fees for an education. The higher tuition fees for graduate level work are used to support the college system and undergraduates. At least one public law school, the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco comes to mind, I believe receives no state funding at all.

It is a public school privately funded by students.

The result has been a steady dropping of California law school reputations compared to national peers.

It also means attorneys need to find high paying jobs to pay off their high debt, which means legal services for the poor or in rural areas is dropping. Frankly, most middle class people cannot afford a lawyer. Legal disputes are often for the rich and corporations.

There have also been media reports of the glut of graduates unable to get a job, suing law schools for fraudulently representing how many graduates get jobs in the legal field.

This recent ad was posted by a Sacramento law firm, willing to pay someone with a law degree and 2 years legal experience, a whopping $10 per hour, but for no more than 30 hours per week in an obvious ploy to avoid paying health benefits:

“Litigation firm looking to hire a recent law graduate or first/second year associate interested in immediate case responsibility and litigation experience.

Initial position is part-time, 20-30 hours, with potential for full-time/associate position. Specifics to be discussed during interview.

Responsibilities to include:
Case Management;
Document Preparation and Review; and,
Legal Research and Writing;

For consideration, submit a detailed, yet concise resume (1 page) highlighting relevant experience. Include a cover letter or short writing sample.

Interviews to commence week of June 3rd.

Location: Roseville / Rocklin
Compensation: $10 / hour”

I would say this is a firm to avoid.

Can you imagine going through 4 years of college (or more), plus 3 years of law school, racking up debt of over a hundred thousand dollars, to compete against those who already have legal experience for a job paying $10 per hour with no benefits.

Let’s see … $10 per hour times 30 hours per week is $300 per week max, or $15,000 per year. If you only get 20 hours per week it is $10,000 per year.

Yikes.

The minimum wage in California is 8 dollars per hour. Assume you are a high school graduate working fast food or retail which is $8 per hour and a full-schedule of 40 hours. That is $320 per week.

Yes, high school graduates with no experience make more than attorneys.

Attorney Hourly Pay Plunges to $10 Per Hour
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