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Employment Numbers for Sacramento-Area Law Grads Dismal

Despite an improving economy, law graduates in the Sacramento area are not seeing much success. The same thing can be said for much of California, according to the Sacramento Bee. Of the law students who graduated from law school in 2013, 20 percent of them were still unemployed nine months following graduation. This is an increase from the 16 percent in 2012, according to new data from the American Bar Association.

In another category, 25 percent of 2013 law grads in the state were working in part-time positions or in jobs that do not require a legal education.

The numbers are a little bit better for graduates of UC Davis, where just 8 percent of grads from 2013 were still unemployed nine months following graduation. This is a two-percent increase from 2012.

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Graduates from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento are really struggling. Thirty-two percent of the school’s graduates from 2013 were looking for work nine months after graduating. In 2012, the number was just 19 percent. In 2013, just three of the 21 law schools in the state with accreditation from the ABA had a higher rate of unemployment than McGeorge.

“There are people who have been out of school for two or three years and have not found their first law job,” said B.J. Susich, an attorney from Boutin Jones and president of the Sacramento County Bar Association. “It’s a bottleneck. Just because hiring is better than it was, it doesn’t mean that you can burn through the inventory.”

School officials from McGeorge said that the 2013 class was one of the largest in the school’s history, with some 320 graduates. Many of them had planned to stay in the Sacramento area to practice law, but there was not enough demand for such a large group of new lawyers.

“It was a grim time for me,” said Alexi Antoniou, a graduate of the McGeorge Class of 2013. “I heard the word ‘no’ occasionally, but most of the time I heard silence.”

Antoniou was able to find work of late, as an independent contractor. He said that the job “doesn’t really require bar passage … The firm is nontraditional – somewhere between a tech startup and a law firm. I review all their contracts. It’s entirely computer-based.”

The ABA data shows that some 30 percent of McGeorge’s 2013 class are working either temporary jobs, jobs that do not require a legal education or working part-time jobs.

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