The Deserving and The Under-Served: A Comment on the Oversupply of Law Graduates, Diversity in the Legal Profession, and Access to Legal Representation

Marie Iskander


Most law students, graduates and young lawyers have become all too familiar with how dismal the graduate employment market has become for aspiring lawyers – particularly thanks to the non-stop barrage of negative news stories which serve as a recurring reminder of how there is not nearly enough employment positions to cater for the oversupply of law graduates. Due to this oversupply, the idea of using a law degree to ‘pick something else’ by way of a non-legal career has become an increasingly common selling point used by several new and old law schools. Many are now perpetuating the idea that the law degree has become an increasingly generalist degree with transferable skills to other industries and professions, and that it is no longer inevitable that those who undertake a law degree will become lawyers. Despite these law schools’ attempts to comfort prospective law graduates, this marketing rhetoric has done little to assuage law students’ and graduates’ employment concerns. This paper seeks to examine the current oversupply of law graduates, drawing upon survey results received by ALSA as well as other published pieces, which highlight key areas for concern arising from the current market. The paper also seeks to explore the impact (or lack thereof) that the current oversupply of law graduates may be having on issues pertaining to access to justice and access to legal education. 

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