As if the class of 2010—which has been out of law school for about a year now—needed a reminder of how depressing the legal job market has been, NALP just released its Employment Report and Salary Survey for the Class of 2010. According to NALP,
[T]he overall employment rate for new law school graduates is, at 87.6%, the lowest it has been since 1996, when the rate stood at 87.4%. In addition to a lower overall employment rate than that measured for the classes that immediately preceded it, the Class of 2010 employment data reveal a job market with many underlying structural weaknesses, and the employment profile for this class marks the interruption of employment patterns for new law school graduates that have been undisturbed for decades.
The employment rate has not been this low for a law school class since 1996. Another apparent trend from the data is that fewer law students are obtaining jobs that require passage of the bar exam: NALP found that “of those  graduates for whom employment was known, only 68.4% obtained a job for which bar passage is required. This compares with 70.8% for the Class of 2009 and 74.7% for the Class of 2008 and is the lowest percentage NALP has ever measured.” An additional 10.7 percent of 2010 law school graduates secured positions that prefer or call for a JD but do not demand bar exam passage; this rate is higher than the Class of 2009 rate of 9.2 percent. Finally 8.6 percent of 2010 law grads are “employed in other capacities.”
NALP gathered its data in February 2011—approximately nine months subsequent to the graduation dates for most 2010 law school graduates—and based its study on graduates with known statuses, rather than on the total number of graduates. The organization determined that the employment rate for the Class of 2010 based on total number of graduates was 84.1 percent (but NALP also noted that one cannot assume that the unknown statuses equate with unemployment).
NALP press release
ABA Journal source
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