Only half of class of 2018 law grads practice in law firms, NALP report finds

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Ninety-seven percent of surveyed law graduates from the class of 2018 were employed, but only 51% were working in law firms, according to a joint study by the National Association for Law Placement and the NALP Foundation.

Fourteen percent of surveyed graduates were working in business or corporations, and 13% were working in government, according to the findings.

Sixty-seven percent of the graduates had had two or more sequential jobs since graduation.

Forty-two percent of surveyed graduates were extremely satisfied with their current job, while 40% were somewhat satisfied. Only 14% were actively seeking a new job, which was a historically low rate.

The Class of 2018 Study of Law School Employment & Satisfaction report is based on information collected from 1,477 graduates of ABA-accredited law schools in the United States between September and December 2021.

Other topics addressed included compensation, law school debt and the impact of COVID-19.

Fifty-one percent of the surveyed law grads reported annual compensation greater than $100,000. Forty-six percent reported compensation ranging from $51,000 to $100,000.

Total educational debt ranged from zero to $500,000, The average was $94,755, and the median was $70,000, with most of the debt attributable to law school. Forty percent of the respondents had educational debt of more than $100,000, while 30% had no educational debt.

Women and minorities were least likely to have retired their educational debt, as were graduates working in education and as public defenders. The average debt was higher for alumni of color, at $123,336, than for white law grads, at $85,397.

Thirty-one percent of the surveyed grads said the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis affected their mental health and well-being. Forty-six percent of female graduates reported an impact, a rate “markedly higher” than for male grads, at 31%.

The full alumni and satisfaction report can be purchased here.

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