Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Members of Law-School Class of 2011 Had Little Better Than 50-50 Shot of Landing a Job

But if you graduated from one of the top 14 law schools you were sitting pretty.

See the Wall Street Journal, "Law Grads Face Brutal Job Market":
Members of the law-school class of 2011 had little better than a 50-50 shot of landing a job as a lawyer within nine months of receiving a degree, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of new data that provides the most detailed picture yet of the grim market for law jobs.

Under pressure from disillusioned graduates and some professors, the American Bar Association for the first time released a tally of the previous year's graduates who have secured full-time, permanent jobs as lawyers. Until recently, the ABA required law schools to report only general data about how their graduates fared, such as how many were employed full-time or part-time in any kind of job, whether or not it required a law degree.

The numbers suggest the job market for law grads is worse than previously thought. Nationwide, only 55% of the class of 2011 had full-time, long-term jobs that required a law degree nine months after graduation. The ABA defines "long-term" jobs as those that don't have a term of less than one year.

Of course, it isn't uncommon for people to attend law school to advance their career without practicing law. Several law-school deans cautioned against placing too much emphasis on jobs requiring a law degree.

Nationally, 8% of 2011 graduates were said to be in full-time, long-term jobs for which a law degree was preferred but not required, according to the Journal's data analysis. Another 4% were employed in full-time, long-term positions for which professional training was required but for which a law degree offered no advantage....

debate about the value of a law degree. More than 40,000 students enter the law-job market annually. In the past year, law-school graduates have filed more than a dozen lawsuits around the country alleging that some schools misled students with job-placement statistics.

The 2011 data reinforce the notion in the industry that students from the top 14 U.S. law schools have little trouble finding work. The top-ranked schools sent graduates into long-term legal jobs in high numbers, but 87 lower-tier schools had placement rates of 50% or less.
More at the link.

RELATED: Glenn Reynolds keeps linking to this Brian Tamahana piece at the New York Times, so here you go: "How to Make Law School Affordable."

Sometimes I wish I'd gone to law school, mostly for the intellectual enrichment. But more often I think about it now since political science has become so sucky. See Timothy Burke, "Should You Go to Graduate School," and more recently, PM at Duck of Minerva, "Should I get a Ph.D.?"