Legal Education

'Modest increase' for class of 2019 jobs but also smaller class size, ABA data shows

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For 2019 graduates of ABA-accredited law schools, 80.6% were employed in full-time, long-term jobs that require bar passage or are categorized as JD-advantage positions, according to data released Monday.

Out of the 2019 class, 72.1% had full-time long-term, jobs that require bar passage; 8.5% had long-term, full-time positions where JDs were preferred for job candidates, according to a news release from the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

For the 2018 class, 78.6% had full-time, long-term, bar-passage-required or JD-advantage jobs. The 2019 data shows a “modest increase” in the number of jobs, as well as an 0.8% decrease in class size.

“The actual number of full-time, long-term bar passage required or JD-advantage jobs increased by 751 (2.82%) year-over-year, going from 26,601 in 2018 to 27,352 in 2019,” according to the release.

Also, the data reflects employment outcomes as of March 16, 2020, and may not reflect any changes that arose because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the release, 33,954 people graduated from ABA-accredited law schools in 2019. Comparatively, the class of 2018 had 34,221 members.

A data table breaks down jobs by employer category. For the class of 2019, law firms employed 48.1% of the graduates, compared to 46.9% for 2018 graduates. Law firms provided the most jobs for both 2019 and 2018 graduates.

Government jobs were in the second highest category, and there was a slight decrease. For 2019 graduates 11.5% were employed in government jobs. The percentage was 12.1% for 2018 graduates.

There were also small decreases in business and academic jobs for 2019 graduates, as well as fewer class members employed in solo practices.

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