Timing Law School

43 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2017  

Frank McIntyre

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Michael Simkovic

USC Gould School of Law; University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2017

Abstract

We investigate whether economic conditions at labor market entry predict long‐term differences in law graduate earnings. We find that unemployment levels at graduation continue to predict law earnings premiums within four years after graduation for earners at the high end and middle of the distribution. However, the relation fades as law graduates gain experience and the difference in lifetime earnings is moderate. Outcomes data available prior to matriculation do not predict unemployment or starting salaries at graduation. Earnings premiums are not predicted by BLS projected job openings. Although changes in cohort size predict changes in the percent of law graduates practicing law, we find little evidence that changes in cohort size predict changes in earnings. This suggests that law graduates who switch to other occupations when law cohort sizes increase are not hurt financially by larger cohorts. For medium‐ to high‐earning graduates, successfully timing law school predicts a higher value of a law degree ex‐post, but simulations show that no strategy for ex‐ante timing is readily available.

Suggested Citation

McIntyre, Frank and Simkovic, Michael, Timing Law School (June 2017). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 14, Issue 2, pp. 258-300, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2959104 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jels.12147

Frank McIntyre (Contact Author)

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey ( email )

311 North 5th Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08854
United States

Michael Simkovic

USC Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

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