Good news for new lawyers: Fewer grads mean better job prospects, report shows
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The job outlook for new lawyers is improving, recent figures show.
That may have as much to do with fewer law school graduates looking for work than to any actual improvement in the job market for entry-level lawyers.
Nearly 60 percent of all 2014 law school graduates were employed in full-time, long-term legal jobs, requiring bar passage as of March 15, according to data released Wednesday by the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.
That’s up nearly 3 percent from last year, when 57 percent of all 2013 law school graduates held full-time, long-term legal jobs requiring a law license nine months after graduation.
Another 11.2 percent of all 2014 graduates were employed in full-time, long-term jobs in which a law degree is preferred, which was up 1.1 percent from the class of 2013, when 10.1 percent of all graduates held such jobs.
But the total number of graduates in JD-required or JD-preferred jobs has declined slightly, from 31,368 for the class of 2013 to 31,160 for the class of 2014.
That apparent discrepancy is explained, in part, by the fact that last year’s graduating class of 43,832 students was 6.5 percent smaller than 2013’s largest-ever graduating class of 46,776, the section says in a press release.
The percentage of graduates reported as unemployed and seeking work also dropped slightly from 11.2 percent for the class of 2013 to 9.8 percent for the class of 2014.
Law school funded positions have also declined incrementally from 4 percent for the class of 2013 to 3.6 percent for the class of 2014.
Data for the class of 2014 reflect the employment status of graduates as of March 15, roughly 10 months after graduation. Data for the class of 2013 reflect graduates’ employment status as of Feb. 15, roughly nine months after graduation. The reporting date was changed because some states release bar exam results later than others.