Is the Legal Job Market Improving?

by Nicole Weber | April 27, 2015

  • My Vault

Among the many informative sessions at last week’s NALP Annual Conference was a Q&A with members of the American Bar Association, in which the ABA gave a sneak peek at the most recent law school employment statistics. How has the law school class of 2014 fared since graduating? The short answer: A little better than their predecessors, but mostly because the number of law school grads shrank from the previous year. Here’s a quick and dirty look at the numbers:

  • The Class of 2014 had 3,000 fewer students, representing a 6.4% decrease, than the Class of 2013. It was about time for a drop; the Class of 2013 was the largest ever, resulting from record law school enrollment in 2010.
  • Overall unemployment (meaning those actually “seeking” jobs at the time data was collected) went down to 9.8% in 2014, from 11.2% in 2013.
  • 64.1% of 2014 grads found jobs requiring bar passage, a 1.9% uptick. And within that group, more found full-time jobs than in 2013. The number of these jobs, however, shrank by 3.5%.
  • 14.5% of 2014 grads found JD Advantage jobs, an uptick of almost 1% since 2013, while the number of these jobs stayed the same.
  • 700 more government jobs were available for 2014 grads than for 2013 grads, and the percentage of grads obtaining those jobs went up by 1%.
  • 40.7% of 2014 grads got jobs at law firms, a 1% increase from the class of 2013. But the absolutely number of law firm jobs dropped from 18,000 to 17,000.

So the modest improvement in hiring is mostly due to the lower number of legal job-seekers, as opposed to an increase in available jobs. (In fact, it was the opposite for every category besides government jobs.) But hey, anything that brings the overall unemployment number down is good news in this universe, where a 2010 law grad can be $328,000 in debt and work at Cracker Barrel.   

Read More:
Law School Class of 2010 is Still Screwed
And the Winner for Most Expensive Law School Is…
Which Candidates Have the Best Job Prospects in 2015?
Burdened With Debt, Law School Graduates Struggle in Job Market

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Filed Under: Job Search | Law

Tags: BigLaw | job market | law firms | law school

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