While it’s true that the Law School Bubble is bursting, if you still have your heart on being Thurgood Marshall, you may want to disregard my statement that you can always just take the apprenticeship route. A Missouri attorney wrote me to remind that Vermont is one of only a few states (VT, VA CA, WA) where non-law school graduates can litigate if they pass the bar. So while anyone can pass a bar exam, not everybody can argue before a court.
A better refinement of this issue: if you are going to excel at any field, really high-end education will almost certainly be required. If you want to be at the top, top, top of the legal profession – Harvard probably ain’t a bad play. Are you going to get a liberal arts education so that you can be prepared for any intellectual challenge? Williams College won’t let you down. Do you want to be a musician for life, doing nothing else to produce income? The Eastman School of Music produces the top of the field.
The point is that just flinging $150,000 of borrowed money at just any institution in order to get some piece of paper is not necessarily going to get you closer to your dreams. And there are thousands if not millions doing just that – going through an academic discipline to get a certificate with the hope that a job is guaranteed at the end.
In an economic system that was constantly growing, that was a pretty good game plan. In this world of transformation, it isn’t anymore.