There’s been a lot of media coverage about the lack of job prospects for law school graduates, including this headline in The Atlantic: “The Jobs Crisis at Our Best Law Schools Is Much, Much Worse Than You Think.”
In Israel, which has the highest rate in the world of lawyers per capita, the Economy Minister is railing against the glut of lawyers and stated bluntly on Tuesday that young Israelis should find another subject to study.
“Stop studying law, the entire State of Israel,” Economy Minister Naftali Bennett told the Knesset. “This nonsense needs to be stopped. Whoever really likes it, that’s fine. I also studied law, [which was] unnecessary. The manufacturers are calling out [for workers]; so is the high-tech [industry].”
Bennett studied law himself, but embarked on a hi-tech business career after law school, launching a start-up that created 140 jobs. He later sold the company, Cyota, for a reported $145 million when he was 33-years-old.
The right-wing politician served as a Major in the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) famed Sayeret Matkal field-intelligence reconnaissance unit.
According to Israel Army Radio, Bennett promoted the study of hi-tech over law at a meeting with lawmakers about how to integrate ultra-Orthodox Israelis into the workforce.
Israel holds the number one spot internationally in the number of lawyers relative to its population, 585 attorneys per 100,000 residents, according to a 2010 report by the Israel's Courts Administration.
President of the Israeli Bar Association Doron Barzilay tells the financial paper Globes that indeed there is a glut of lawyers, but says the problem is that it’s too easy to become a lawyer.
“Legal education is important and welcome,” he says, according to a translation provided by the Times of Israel. “The problem was and remains at the gates to the legal profession.”
Head of the National Union of Israeli Students Uri Rashtik puts the onus on Bennett to provide funding for alternative courses of study.
The minister “doesn’t recommend that students study law, but he hasn’t kept his word and created a real alternative in the form of strong and stable technological education,” Rashtik said.
In the U.S, as TheBlaze reported earlier this year, about a dozen law schools have set up their own law practices to employ their graduates who can’t find jobs.
TheBlaze profiled Bennett in December when he was a candidate running for Knesset. Because his party secured about ten percent of the vote, he was invited to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet as a senior minister.