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by Vault Law Editors | May 06, 2010

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Pity the approximately 40,000 law-school students who are about to graduate into the worst legal job market in a quarter century. Among the things to keep out of their hands: sharp objects, horse tranquilizers, and today’s Wall Street Journal, which runs a bleak story on the slender prospects and fat debts of the latest crop of J.D.s. Some of the takeaways:

•    Average law-school debt = $100,000

•    In 2009, firms gave full time offers to 69% of summer associates, down from about 90% in the previous five years.

•    Saul Ewing slashed hiring of law graduates this year by 2/3

•    The University of Texas School of Law estimates the employment rate for 2010 graduates is down about 10% to 15% from last year.

•    "This the worst job market I've ever seen," said the head of career services at the University of Iowa College of Law.

•    The nation's 100 highest-grossing corporate firms last year reported an average revenue decline of 3.4%

•    Law firms had an average of 16 summer associate positions to offer this year, about half the number of the previous year (according to NALP)

These last 2 factoids underscore the funky economics of the (fading?) highly-leveraged BigLaw model: a 3.4% dip in revenues translates into a 50% hiring slash. 

-posted by brian

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