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Are Baby Boomers to blame for the lousy lawyer job market?


The median age of lawyers has jumped from 39 in 1980 to 49 in 2005, suggesting that the bad job market for new lawyers may be attributable to demographic factors rather than permanent changes in the job market, a law professor says.

Writing at Witnesseth: Law, Deals & Data, Pepperdine University law professor Robert Anderson says the oversupply of lawyers may be the result of two factors. First, lawyers may be waiting longer to retire because of 401(k) accounts decimated by the financial crisis. Second, the bulge of Baby Boomers is still working its way through the system.

With the financial recovery, more older lawyers may have the wherewithal to retire, freeing up more jobs for law grads, Anderson says. And even if Baby Boomers continue to delay retirement, “the inevitable march of time” will likely result in more job openings.

“Of course, there are those who argue that there have been permanent, structural changes to the legal market that will reduce the number of legal jobs,” Anderson writes, “and there is no denying that law school tuition remains daunting. But the demographic factors suggest the real culprit in the law school graduates’ jobs dilemma of today may be the law school graduates of four decades ago.”

Hat tip to TaxProf Blog.

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