Posts Tagged ‘Debate’

Is a Law Degree Worthless?

In Commentary on April 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Unfortunately, maybe.

There has been a recent shift in the legal recruitment market in favour of graduates from non-law backgrounds. It seems that law firms are now targeting candidates who can show specialist skills and a range of abilities outside of the traditional gambit of a law graduate. The question is: is this fair?

In my humble opinion OF COURSE IT’S NOT! This is obviously a response to the overwhelming number of law graduates streaming out of universities with a respectable 2:1 every year, but it is still questionable. It makes it seem as if recruiters have decided that instead of spending time on differentiating between candidates who have very similar backgrounds, they may as well remove such candidates from the equation all together. They are then left free to choose between an increasingly diverse set of candidates who can show skills such as lateral thinking, problem solving and in-depth analysis, all of which are necessary in legal practice. The problem is however, that if these are the skills needed to become a successful lawyer, then they should very much be possessed by legal graduates already. So is there scope to suggest that perhaps it is the content of law degrees that is at fault in failing to deliver well-rounded candidates? Or is it simply that this is a mechanism being used to handle the over-abundance of law graduates with nowhere to go? These sorts of questions have the potential to call in the relevance of a law degree, where it offers you no advantage in actually becoming a lawyer.


Even more disturbingly, the above linked article suggests that volunteering at your local Citizens Advice Bureau is akin to three/ four years of studying towards a law degree in showing your commitment to the subject. As someone who has wanted to study law from young age, and has tailored their studies accordingly, I find it slightly insulting that a recruiter may equate my passion for law to someone who has completed their degree in any subject and decided later on that law might just be for them. Now I wouldn’t go as far as to blame such candidates; they are entitled to take up any profession they want, and have still worked hard towards gaining their degree. I do however take issue with any recruiter who grants such candidates preference over those who can display the same sought-after skills with the added bonus of being able to do so in a legal context.


So in answer to the question of whether a law degree is worthless, I would submit that it very possibly could be so. The legal recruitment market, it would seem, is very much anybody’s ball game.


As always, comments are welcome.