Class of 2011 faced 'brutal' entry-level job market

June 8, 2012
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NALP has released its employment profile for law school graduates from 2011 and the numbers aren’t great. In fact, they are some of the worse NALP – The Association for Legal Career Professionals – has seen in years.

The overall employment rate for new law school graduates is 85.6 percent, the lowest it’s been since 1994. Nine months after graduating, only two-thirds of new attorneys are employed in a job that requires passing the bar.

NALP Executive Director James Leipold described the entry-level job market for these graduates as “brutal.”

“When this class took their LSATs and applied for law school, there were no signs that the legal economic boom was showing any signs of slowing, and yet by the time they graduated they faced what was arguably the worst entry-level legal employment market in more than 30 years,” he wrote in a commentary on NALP’s findings, which were released Thursday.

Less than half of employed graduates are in private practice; only once before 2011 in the 38 years NALP has been collecting employment data has this number been below 50 percent. About 18 percent were employed in business, 7.5 percent in public interest, and 9.3 percent as judicial clerks. Graduates also said they were employed in academic areas, the military and other government jobs.

As of Feb. 15, 2012, nearly 10 percent of graduates were still seeking a job, 2.5 percent weren’t looking for work, and 2.3 percent decided to continue their studies full-time. Nearly 12 percent had jobs that were considered part-time.

“I am often asked if there are signs that the entry-level job market is recovering. Certainly the employment outcomes data for the Class of 2011 document a very distressed job market. This class may represent the bottom of the employment curve for this economic cycle,” Leipold said.

Notre Dame Law School reports that of its 190 graduates from 2011, 174 are employed – 172 full-time and only two part-time. A little over 40 of those employed are working only for a short term, the highest number in four years. Only 15 graduates in 2008 reported working for a short term.

Of those employed, 162 jobs require a law degree and nine have a JD advantage.

At Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, 87 percent of 252 graduates reported being employed, with 193 of those finding work on a permanent basis. Of those employed, 145 have jobs that require a law degree, and 23 have jobs where having a law degree is an advantage.

Nearly half are employed at law firms; “business or industry” is the next largest employment area at 22.82 percent. Of those working at law firms, 51 work in firms with two to 10 attorneys; six reported starting their own practices.

Indiana University Maurer School of Law and Valparaiso University Law School did not have 2011 class statistics posted (or where I could easily find them) on their websites.

You can view the select findings on the Class of 2011 on NALP’s website.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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