“Buy when everyone else is selling.”

From Warren Buffett on down, it’s a time tested approach to investing. It doesn’t mean purchase anything that comes along, or overpay, but it’s a contrarian approach to the madness of markets which tend to drive valuations to extremes for relatively short periods of time.

The law school and legal markets have seen those swings, and now they are in a serious downswing, as documented by Prof. Glenn Reynolds, by a Coalition of 67 Law Profs and Deans, and increasingly by the media.

We even have the absurdity that To Place Graduates, Law Schools Are Opening Firms:

The plan is one of a dozen efforts across the country to address two acute — and seemingly contradictory — problems: heavily indebted law graduates with no clients and a vast number of Americans unable to afford a lawyer.

This paradox, fed by the growth of Internet-based legal research and services, is at the heart of a crisis looming over the legal profession after decades of relentless growth and accumulated wealth. It is evident in the sharp drop in law school applications and the increasing numbers of Americans showing up in court without a lawyer.

Take these warnings seriously. The problems are real.

But if you really want to be a lawyer, I don’t think all this doom and gloom should scare you away. This market will, and should, weed out the people who go to law school as a default or based on some unrealistic presumption of a lucrative career. This weeding out is a good thing for those who persevere.

Buy law school in this downturn with all the caveats applied to investing. Understanding what you are purchasing from a school in terms of job prospects. Do not overpay by going heavily into debt at a school from which you have little realistic prospect of obtaining the employment necessary to handle that debt. Do not buy law schools that others are shunning for good reason.

For the people who should be going to law school and who choose wisely without rose-colored glasses, this may be a buying opportunity

[Note — this is a restored post due to a data loss.  Any original comments have been lost.]


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