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Law School Graduates Facing Brutal Job Market

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According to the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), the overall employment rate for law school graduates is 85.6 percent, the lowest since the end of the recession. Historically, the overall employment rate for new graduates was lower only in the 1993, when it fell to 83.4 percent.

This employment rate masks an even more desperate reality: only 65.4 percent of the class of 2011 held actual attorney positions (jobs requiring passage of the bar,) a fall of 9 percentage points since 2008. When they do manage to obtain law-related jobs, new graduates are more likely to obtain jobs where a JD provides a benefit but for which passage of the bar is not necessary.  

Fewer than half of those who graduated (49.5 percent) held jobs in private practice, the lowest percentage of graduates ever. The highest percentage of graduates entering private practice was in 1988, when it was 64.3 percent. In 2008, 56.2 percent entered private practice. Since then, the trend has seen a decline to a new low.

On the rise are the number of graduates who do not work in law-related jobs (7.2 percent, up from 5.6 percent in 2010) , work only part time (12 percent, up from 11 percent in 2010) in other professions or have gone back to school to earn additional degrees (3 percent, up from 2.9 in 2010).

The percentage of graduates who are not working rose in 2011 to 12.1 percent, up from 9.4 in 2010.

One can imagine the despair of those who are not able to find work; whether a graduate is able to find work as an attorney or not, she still owes tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. For the average law school graduate this debt hovers around $100,433.  


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About A. Jurek

A. Jurek is one of the editors at Blogcritics. Contact me at: a.jurek@blogcritics.org
  • 500 million lawyers. Oh, the horror.

  • troll

    500,000,000 or bust

  • Igor

    All of us white-collar workers made a terrible miscalculation when we assumed that business maintaining a too-long workweek while cutting jobs and increasing productivity would only affect blue-collar workers and union members, so we didn’t mind while it was happening. After all, it was only low-lifes with cig packs rolled up in their t-shirt sleeves and commie union guys who were hurt. And who cares about them?

    But now the reality has hit! With fewer of those dopes popping out widgets the business machine needs fewer of us too!

    What a revoltin’ development!

  • WillfromSF

    Sorry for those who jumped on the lawyer-train too late, but really the last thing this country needs is more lawyers leeching off the economy and society. You can’t make a decision or do much of anything without a lawyer trying to find a way to profit from it.

  • don’t believe these phony job stats from the law school industry. the real numbers are much worse.