Monday, June 11, 2012

Law School Grads Face Worst Job Market Yet - Less Than Half Find Jobs in Private Practice = NALP

NALP: The Association for Legal Career ProfessionalsThe widely reported bad news about the legal job market is that 2011 was a bad year.  These are structural problems aggravated by the anti-tax sentiment which transferred so much of the cost of higher education to students who borrow to attend school.
My first law job was as a business representative for Actors Equity - the Broadway theater union.  Hired by the Executive Secretary - a labor lawyer for whom I had interned - my job did not require a J.D. - but I did handle grievance arbitrations, reviewed contracts, etc.  I could have stayed, become a negotiator, etc. using my legal training.  Many non J.D. jobs today will have similar benefits.  But what comes next?  When I went into private practice there were lots of things for which working people needed lawyers: injuries at work, tenant unions!, buying and selling houses, automobile accidents (in cars without seat-belts), major and minor criminal charges.  Not so clear today what work will be available. - GWC

NALP - The Association for Legal Career Professionals | Law School Grads Face Worst Job Market Yet - Less Than Half Find Jobs in Private Practice: "According to Selected Findings from the Employment Report and Salary Survey for the Class of 2011 released today by NALP, the overall employment rate for new law school graduates is, at 85.6%, the lowest it has been since 1994, when the rate stood at 84.7%. In addition to an overall employment rate that fell two percentage points from that for the previous class, and that has dropped each year since 2008, the Class of 2011 employment figures reveal a job market with many underlying structural weaknesses. The employment profile for this class also marks a continued interruption of employment patterns for new law school graduates that had, prior to 2010, been undisturbed for decades....
Indeed, low as it is, the overall employment rate of 85.6% of graduates for whom employment status was known actually conceals a number of negative trends in the job market that were first apparent for the Class of 2009 but have since become more prominent.
 For instance, of those graduates for whom employment was known, only 65.4% obtained a job for which bar passage is required. This figure has fallen over 9 percentage points just since 2008 — when it was 74.7% — and is the lowest percentage NALP has ever measured. Conversely, an additional 12.5% obtained jobs for which a JD provides an advantage in obtaining the job, or may even be required, but for which bar passage is not required (these are often described as law-related jobs). This compares with 10.7% for the Class of 2010 and is the highest since NALP began comparable tracking in 2001. The percentage of graduates employed in other capacities was 7.2%. The percentage of jobs reported as part-time stood at almost 12%, up from about 11% in 2009 and 2010, and in contrast to 6.5% for 2008 and about 5% in the years immediately prior to that. Almost 7% of jobs were both temporary (defined as lasting less than a year) and part-time. As was the case in 2010, 3% of 2011 graduates were continuing their academic studies full-time, leaving 12.1% who were neither working nor continuing their studies as of February 15, 2012. (It is important to note that a small but unknown portion of the 12.1% of graduates not reported as working have in fact secured a job but had not started working in that job as of February 15.)

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