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Research Shows Which States are The Most Saturated with Law School Graduates
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The glut of law school graduates is nothing new, and is a very real threat facing the legal industry, but new data provided by attorney and blogger Matt Leichter shows exactly which states are suffering from the greatest oversaturation of new lawyers. Leichter’s data, broken down by state (including Puerto Rico), reveals which states are the least friendly to new lawyers by comparing the number of ABA accredited law school graduates in a particular state with the available number of attorney jobs in that state.

Leichter, a law school graduate that has since struggled to find full-time legal work, compiled the list to demonstrate which states are most accommodating to law school graduates, and his research reveals the uncomfortable and troubling truth of the current U.S. legal market, along with a few surprises.


Topping the list as the state that is most oversaturated with law school graduates is Mississippi, which has 10.53 law school graduates for each available legal job. That ratio is scary for recent graduates, and while Mississippi is far and away the most saturated state, the overall picture is indeed grim.

Michigan has the second worst ratio, with 6.48 recent law school graduates for every open attorney position, followed by Delaware at 4.2, Nebraska at 4.04, and then Vermont at 3.5. Only three states had openings for every single recent law school graduate: Nevada, Wyoming, and Alaska. (There was not enough data to create a ratio for Tennessee.)

Leichter’s research uses data from 2011, and creates estimates for job openings from 10-year projections provided by state agencies and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And while the state-by-state data is revealing, it does not reflect the movement that law school graduates make after obtaining their law degree. For example, Massachusetts has a number of nationally prominent law schools that attract students from all around the country, and a large number of those students do not have plans to remain in the state after graduating.

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The Atlantic further grouped each state’s ratio by region, revealing that, while certain parts of the country have a much worse ratio of graduates to jobs than others, the discrepancies between the regions are on the whole smaller. New England has almost 3 law school graduates per attorney job, while the Rocky Mountains have 1.31 law school graduates per attorney job. No region in the U.S. had a 1 to 1 ratio.


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