Among other things he's been taken aback by the fact that borrowing $90K to go to this school could easily end up costing him $300K, once one adds up both the interest charges he'll end up paying on the loans and the cash he and his wife plan to spend (she's going to work while he's in school) to pay for law school while he's enrolled.
Beyond this, he's noticed how much his views on the whole process have changed simply as a product of the fact that he ended up stepping back from the whole application scramble before he actually made the leap:
I think that the reason why 0Ls continue to perceive law school as an attractive option regardless of the costs or employment realities, is that by the time they get information regarding the employment picture, most have already invested a great deal of physical and emotional energy into law school. They've probably spent months studying for and then taken the LSAT, invested time in researching law schools and taken the employment materials they've provided at face value, found professors to write them letters of recommendation, drafted and revised their personal statements numerous times, and finally sent out their applications only to wait with great anxiety about whether or not they would be accepted. If they're anything like me, during this whole process, they've also looked back at their college education and all the effort they put into performing well as meaningfully leading up to the moment where they could enter professional school and embark on a rewarding and lucrative career path. This, paired with the fact that they are constantly being encouraged by classmates, professors, pre-law advisers, and family members (and more or less all of society) to continue their education and pursue a professional degree, deters them from considering that a legal education might be the biggest mistake of their lives. It was only after I had finished sending out all of my applications in mid-December that I began to casually look more closely at the perils of pursuing a law degree (and by this time I had already been imagining the "perceived" rewards of pursuing a legal career for nearly 12 months).This seems to me a very plausible account of what could be called the social psychology of the law school admissions process. Indeed I would add that this general process tends to continue throughout a student's first semester of law school, when engagement and optimism are naturally at their peaks.
The natural attachment that develops from being so committed to a vision of the future is difficult to break away from, even after you become aware of how unrealistic such a future may be. Perhaps many 0Ls simply get the information too late, after they've already invested a great deal of time and effort into the whole law-school process. At that point, I think it becomes all too easy for most students to simply turn a blind eye to the red-flags being raised by bloggers and in the media. I suspect if the amount of transparency you (and many others) are demanding becomes the norm, then the number of students seeking to pursue a legal education will rapidly decline. If many students were deterred before they invested a year or so of their lives in the admissions process (that is, deterred at the outset by the dismal employment numbers law schools would be required to make public on their websites), then I suspect many more would be less inclined to bother with putting in the effort of applying at all and, hopefully, not find themselves attached to a romanticized vision of a future in the legal profession.
For years, I taught a two-semester Property course, and it was always very striking how different the atmosphere was in the classroom on the first day of the second semester. The students had gotten their grades, which for a great number of them meant that for what at that point had been a couple of years of engagement with certain dreams of the future was coming to what must have felt like an abrupt end. (And this was before the present crisis.). For a great many potential law students, it would be all to the good if they could subject themselves to something like that harsh form of reality therapy before they had sunk a semester's worth of costs in law school -- and perhaps more significantly before they had made a commitment to a path that for reasons of social psychology becomes harder to leave the further one walks down it.
Further thought: It also occurs to me that the financial investment people make in the application process might be quite significant in at least a psychological sense. How much does an LSAT prep course run? Then there are the costs of taking the test, of applying to schools, of maybe visiting a couple . . . And we know that people tend not to be "rational" (in the econ sense of rational) about sunk costs.