NALP numbers confirm depressing job outlook for law grads

by Vault Law Editors | May 25, 2010

  • My Vault

Last week, NALP released Selected Findings from its Employment Report and Salary Survey for the Class of 2009. The survey included responses from 192 ABA-accredited law schools and 40,833 graduates of the class of 2009.

Among the report’s highlights:

The employment rate for the class of 2009, though higher than expected, “masks job market weakness.”

  • 88.3% of graduates were employed as of February 15, 2010 (nine months after graduation) — the lowest rate since 1996. For some perspective, however, it’s worth noting that this percentage is still higher than that for each of the years following the last recession: 1991 (85.9%), 1992 (83.5%), 1993 (83.4%), 1994 (84.7%) and 1995 (86.7%). Looked at in a certain way, law graduates were downright spoiled for the last 10 years.

  • On the other hand, remember that many of these 2009 grads were hired out of summer programs in 2008, before the worst of the recession hit. That means that statistics for 2010 and 2011 grads (who would have been summer associates in 2009 and 2010) are likely to be much worse. We’ll see more of the effects of reduced summer programs, deferred start dates and smaller entry-level classes.

More depressing news …

Not all those who found jobs are working as attorneys.

  • 70.8% of graduates obtained jobs requiring bar passage. An additional 9.2% have jobs for which a JD is either required or preferred.

  • 7.2% of graduates are working in a non-legal capacity.

Roughly 12% of graduates are not employed, though not all are actively looking for jobs.

  • 6.0% are seeking work

  • 3.1%  are continuing their studies full time

  • 2.7% are lucky enough to be doing nothing at all (i.e., they’re not in school, not working and not looking for work)

For many of those with jobs, their work is temporary, part-time or just plain unsatisfying.

  • Nearly 25% of all jobs were reported as temporary (including judicial clerkships)

  • More than 10% of graduates were employed part time (a notable increase from 6.5% for the class of 2008)

  • Nearly 22% of graduates who have some kind of job said they are still looking for work (compared to 16% for the previous year)

In July, NALP will release more detailed survey results, including salary details and analyses of employment by geographic market.

- posted by vera

Filed Under: Law

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