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New York Law School Graduates Finding Work at Small Law Firms

New information was released by the American Bar Association that shows close to 20 percent of law students who graduated from the 15 law schools in New York worked at firms that employ 50 or fewer lawyers nine months following their graduation. The information also shows that 19 percent of graduates from New York law schools in 2010 were hired by law firms with 501 or more lawyers. Schools such as New York University School of Law, Columbia Law School and Cornell Law School each placed between 50 and 60 percent of their 2010 graduating classes at law firms with more than 501 attorneys. Six of the 15 law schools in New York placed their graduates from 2010 in small law firms.

In 2010, 42 percent of the graduates from the Touro Law Center were hired by law firms with less than 50 attorneys. Eighty-seven percent of those students were working at law firms that had anywhere from 2 to 10 lawyers on the staff.

“A lot of students are from Nassau, Suffolk, Brooklyn and Queens,” said Touro Law dean Lawrence Raful. “People are interested in staying in their neighborhoods and helping people in their neighborhoods with local issues.”

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Raful also said that students get a better opportunity when hired by small firms when it comes to hands-on experience, appearing in court, working on separation agreements and incorporations.

There were 250 students who graduated from the Albany Law School in 2010, with 35 percent of them being hired at law firms that have less than 50 attorneys on staff. Twenty-two percent of the class was hired by law firms with 2 to 10 lawyers on the staff. There were 265 graduates from the University at Buffalo Law School and 352 graduates from A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, with 34 percent of those graduates combined employed by small law firms. The law firms with 2 to 10 lawyers employed 23 percent of Hofstra Law graduates and 22 percent of Buffalo graduates in 2010.

There were 481 graduates from New York Law School, of which 26 percent were employed with firms that have less than 50 attorneys. Of the 2010 graduates at St. John’s University School of Law, 28 percent of them were hired by small firms.

“These are employers that don’t have the luxury of large training programs or staffing cases with multiple attorneys,” said Larry Cunningham, associate dean for student services at St. John’s. “One of our strengths is our commitment to producing graduates able to practice law from day one.”

Brooklyn Law School and Albany Law School had the highest percentage of graduates hired into government positions, with 16 percent of each school’s class working in short-or-long-term jobs within the government.

“As the only law school within about 100 miles of New York state’s Capital Region, Albany Law has more internship opportunities than it can fill with the courts, state agencies, the Legislature, the executive branch, and the local firms, which often lead to full-time jobs,” said David Singer, a spokesman for Brooklyn said.

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