Law Firms

A higher percentage of law grads are getting hired by larger firms

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Larger firms of 250 or more lawyers are hiring a higher percentage of law grads as class sizes stagnate and law firms grow.

Nearly 10% of all law school graduates in the class of 2012—4,600 new lawyers—ended up working full time at law firms with more than 250 lawyers, Bloomberg Law reports in a Big Law Business column. Last year, the percentage had grown to nearly 18%.

“If the trend line from the last decade continues unabated,” the article said, BigLaw “would hire about 37% of law school graduates by 2040. That figure would encompass the vast majority of lawyers going into private practice.”

Bloomberg cited statistics from the ABA to make a point: Law firms could reduce associate hours, helping avoid burnouts, by hiring more associates.

But when columnist Roy Strom asked law firm leaders about hiring more associates, the answer is never a simple yes, he reports.

“The partners struggle with the idea of hiring more law school graduates because of concerns over ‘quality.’ They only hire the best, they say, and they need to make sure that continues,” Strom wrote.

“If BigLaw is concerned the country’s law schools are producing too few quality associate candidates, then why do they keep hiring a greater portion of them?” he asked. “There’s one simple answer: The market has been consolidating, and BigLaw needs people to do the job.”

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