Legal Education

For 2022 law grads, bar-pass-required jobs increase, while JD-advantage positions decrease

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For the second year in a row, there is an increase in jobs for new lawyers, according to data released Tuesday by the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

The employment rate for 2022 law school graduates is 84.6%, compared to 83% for 2021 graduates, according to an April 25 news release. Those jobs are full time, long term and either require bar passage or are positions in which having a JD is seen as an advantage.

The class of 2022 had 36,078 members, compared to 35,712 graduates in 2021, according to an employment outcomes table linked the news release.

“While modest in the number of new jobs nationwide this year, when added to the previous year’s increase the job market for newly minted attorneys has clearly recovered. Interestingly, the growth in the number of jobs in law firms, rather than other aspects of the law shows the largest gain in percentage points,” said Bill Adams, managing director of ABA accreditation and legal education, in the news release.

For the class of 2022, 52% had positions in firms, compared to 50.6% for 2021 graduates. Public-interest work had an increase too; 8.4% of 2022 graduates had those jobs, compared to 7.7% of 2021 graduates. And education positions had a slight increase—from 1.2% for the class of 2021 to 1.3% for 2022 graduates.

The percentage of government jobs is 10.4% for 2022 graduates, which was the same percentage for 2021 graduates.

There was a slight decrease in the business and industry jobs: 9% of the class of 2022 jobs were in that category, compared to 10% for 2021. Clerkships also had a slight decrease—from 9.6% for 2021 graduates to 9.1% for 2022 graduates.

Also, there was a decrease in JD-advantage jobs. For the class of 2022, 7.8% had full-time, long-term jobs in that category, compared to 8.8% for 2021 graduates. For bar-passage-required positions, 76.8% of 2022 graduates had those jobs, compared to 74.2% of 2021 graduates.

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