Is becoming a lawyer a bad investment?

I saw an interesting article in Time magazine that asked, “Is becoming a lawyer a bad investment?” , and it shows that what I thought was a great, stable career isn’t really that way anymore. The article talks about how attorney jobs are drying up due to the down economy, but the number of people earning law degrees is still high. Some students are staying in law school until the economy improves, but by the time they enter the labor force, they still might not have good opportunities.

It’s surprising and discouraging that the legal profession isn’t as promising or lucrative as it used to be, but there are things that an attorney can do to stand out: it’s time to invest in personal marketing. If you’re already in a firm, become friends with the marketing person there. If your firm has a social media and public relations expert, then ask them about what tools would work best to promote your area of expertise. If you have your own practice, hire a marketing or public relations consultant. If you want to be published, find a niche a write a blog, or submit an article to a specialized publication or website. A good resource for information and assistance is Real Lawyers HaveBlogs.


It’s important to think about marketing and promoting yourself because it not only distinguishes you from other attorneys, but also helps your find new clients and retain your current ones so that they give you referrals. After all, you worked hard in law school, you passed the Bar, then established a practice or entered a good law firm, and now work diligently on cases. Why stop there? It doesn’t take a lot of effort if you develop a plan and work with a professional who can help you. My father used to say, “What’s the point of having a $1000 silk suit if your shoes aren’t polished?” because it makes you look bad. The same is true about what you do to promote yourself after getting a fancy education.