Law schools are being a bit more careful to provide exact statistics on the employment rate of their graduates, thanks to a series of suits aimed against various law schools that their stats were misleading; and the American Bar Association is also giving a clearer picture of how things actually look for JDs nowadays. What we’re seeing, in reference to New York law schools, as referenced by the New York Law Journal, is that six in ten of the 4,967 students who graduated from New York laws schools are able to gain full time, permanent employment that requires passing the bar, as of Feb. 15.
What this means is that four out of ten JD’s are either underemployed (delivering pizzas), or unemployed (not even delivering pizzas). An array of stats shows us a few things. First, the 59.8 employment rate is a bit higher than the national average, which is at 56.2, and it is a slight improvement over 2011’s 57.2 percent rate for New York graduates.
In other words, we are heading in the right direction, albeit very slowly. There might be a hiccup in the process, nevertheless, as 2013 will be an even larger class than 2012 was, which means more competition and more unemployed graduates. However, it is expected that from 2014 onwards there will be smaller classes.
Only two New York schools have over 90 percent employment: Columbia Law School at 93.4 percent and New York University School of Law at 91.1 percent. The remainder of New York schools are about half.
Some have significant increases. Hofstra Law jumped 10.5 points to 51.2 percent. “We are pleased the numbers went up, but they’re not high enough,” said Eric Lane, who is dean of Hofstra Law. “Our goals are 100 percent employment. So we’re paying a lot more attention to our responsibility of helping students find jobs.”
100 percent does not sound like a reasonable goal, but at least it is expected that the rates will be going up. With 24 percent of students being underemployed in short-term or part-time jobs, and 13 percent being unemployed entirely, the current situation is depressing for many JD’s, many of whom have six-figures worth of student loans.