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New Study Reveals 2010 as Legal Market Turning Point
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class of 2010 the turning point in legal industry

Summary: A new study notes that the class of 2010 marked the turning point in the legal market.

We all know by now that the legal market is difficult, that JDs are straddled with debt, that prospects are poor, that making it as a lawyer is harder than ever. That’s old news. But when did the trend start? Well, the 2008 recession marked the turning point of course. That’s when things tanked.

  
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But it was the class of 2010 that first really felt this, and a new study has documented that only 40 percent of that class is working in law firms, as compared to 60 percent a decade earlier.

More discouraging but enlightening stats from this study note that 20 percent of 2010’s graduates are working in jobs that require no law license at all. And most of them are burdened by law school debts.

The class of 2010 was an especially poignant class to receive this sad wakeup call: enrollment was peaking at 52,488, right when 2008’s reality was coming home. Firms were ceasing to hire new grads and were even laying off employees. That means that the class of 2010 was competing with experienced lawyers for jobs.

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“It was a double whammy. Our class was also competing with third- and fourth-year associates who had been laid off,” noted one student.

Thus a lot of lawyers have turned to other means of work for paying off debts. 85 percent of them owe an average of $77,364 in debt for those who went to public law schools and $112,007 in debt for those who went to private schools. Many have gone into private practice, worked for the government, or found alternative forms of employment. 010 marked a turning point, when the weight of 2008’s change was finally felt, confronting the largest graduating class seen in decades. After this, the industry sobered up.





 

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