In the past few weeks I've heard from three different people who are in some variation of this scenario:
A law school applicant graduated from college a year ago and has either been working at a low-wage low status job or has been volunteering for a social service organization. The applicant has been offered partial "scholarships" (cross-subsidized tuition breaks) to low-ranked law schools or could attend a higher-ranked but not elite school at sticker or close to sticker.
The parents are putting major pressure on applicant to enroll, by offering some financial support, such as promising to cover the applicant's living expenses while in law school, or offering to make the applicant's loan payments for a year or two after graduation.
The applicant has done some research and realizes the available options don't look good, but either doesn't want to alienate the parents and/or wants the offered financial support. In each instance the applicant has tried to convince the parents that the wise thing to do under the circumstances is to re-take the LSAT and try to get better offers in the next admissions cycle, but the parents are rejecting this idea.
In all these cases I've been struck by the extent to which some type of status anxiety seems to be driving the parents' actions. Two are from upwardly mobile professional class families which emigrated to the US in the previous generation. The third has a parent who has had a successful legal career (but apparently will not be in a position to exercise much if anything in the way of nepotistic influence).
All these kids -- and they are kids, none of them have really done much of anything besides go to school -- are getting some version of the message that their parents are frustrated by what they perceive as post-college drift, and are impatient to see their children take on the respectable professional identities that they were sent to school (no doubt at considerable expense) to acquire.
It appears the parents simply don't believe what their children tell them about what has happened to the relative value of a law degree. This is especially a problem for the child of the lawyer, who graduated from law school 25 years ago from a state law school after paying a total of $7,000 over three years in tuition. This parent claims to have "struggled" to get a job, which turns out to mean the parent had to work for two years at a legal job the parent didn't really want before getting the kind of job the parent had gone to school to acquire.
In short, the parents refuse to accept that in America today it's perfectly possible for people from relatively privileged upper middle class backgrounds to follow all the rules, do everything right, and still end up with a series of bad options. It's almost as if that's unconstitutional or something. They push their child to make what is likely to turn out to be an irreversibly bad choice in the long run, so that at least in the short run they can say their child is going to be something that still sounds like a good thing to be.