Published: Sep 01, 2011 11:14 AM EDT

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The days of top law school graduates having their pick of six-figure jobs at boutique firms - or at least being assured of putting their degrees to use - are over.
Applications to law schools are down nearly 10 percent nationwide amid the worst job market for new lawyers in 15 years. And a typical student has nearly $100,000 in debt.
The sobering statistics have prompted plenty of soul-searching in the legal academy, with calls for schools to provide more accurate job-placement data as well as efforts by some law schools to admit fewer students.
The changing industry also has more students questioning the value and costs. Some disenchanted students are venting on so-called "scam" blogs. Others are suing at least three schools over what they call inflated job-placement data.