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Alabama's 2011 Law Grads See Improved Jobs Picture, Survey Indicates

The Alabama State Bar is putting a positive spin on its latest survey of 111 lawyers admitted to the bar in October 2011.

The bar’s director of communications, Brad Carr, tells the Birmingham Business Journal that the results indicate a better employment picture for 2011 grads than those graduating the prior year.

Nearly 32 percent of the respondents said they worked in a small firm of five or fewer lawyers, nearly 11 percent worked at a medium-sized firm of six to 20 lawyers, and almost 23 percent said they practiced at a firm of 21 or more lawyers. About 7 percent had a solo practice.

It didn’t take long to find a job; 67 percent said they found a job in a law-related field within three months. Only 5.6 percent said they had not found a job in the legal field by the time of the survey. Of those with a solo practice, however, most indicated they opted to go solo because they couldn’t find a job in the legal field.

The largest group of respondents—about 15 percent—had a starting salary between $40,001 and $45,000 in their first legal job. About 29 percent made less.

About 45 percent of the respondents had student debt of $100,000 or more, the Legal Skills Prof Blog reported last month. The blog Associate’s Mind had a negative view of the results. “Loads of debt? Check,” the blog says. “Low starting salary? Check. … Welcome to the practice of law.”

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