Overall employment for class of 2017 law school graduates only increased by 1 percentage point, even though the number of jobs found by graduates fell again by more than 1,200 compared with 2016 numbers.
Those are among the findings of the National Association for Law Placement’s Jobs & JDs: Employment and Salaries of New Law School Graduates report released Thursday.
The employment rate for the class of 2017 was 88.6 percent, compared with a rate of 87.5 percent for the class of 2016. At the same time, the number of jobs found by graduates fell again, by more than 1,200 compared with 2016.
Still, NALP claimed employment outcomes for the class of 2017 were the best for law school grads since the Great Recession.
“The employment outcomes findings for members of the class of 2017 are surprisingly strong. Most notable is a bar passage required employment rate that jumped more than 4 percentage points from the previous year, and a private practice employment rate that has now increased for six years in a row,” said James G. Leipold, NALP’s executive director. “Barring another economic slowdown or interruption and barring a significant jump in law school enrollment as a result of rising applications, the employment outlook for recent law school graduates looks brighter (if not exactly rosy) than it has at any time since 2008, and that is good news.”
Class sizes have decreased 25 percent in the past four years, with just 34,922 graduates entering the job market in 2017 compared to the historically large class of 2013 that produced 46,776 job seekers.
Despite a trending decrease of students, salary numbers increased in the last year. The national median salary for the class of 2017 was $70,000, up from $65,000 for the class of 2016. Those who received salaries of $180,000 accounted for just over one in five of the full-time, long-term salaries reported.