Law Students

Grim Statistics for Law School Graduates
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The job market continues to remain stagnant, several years after the recession first impacted the legal industry.

Summary: The job market continues to remain stagnant, several years after the recession first impacted the legal industry.

In the past, getting into law school was a one-way street to a prosperous career. Unfortunately, for the class of 2010 and following graduates, this has not been the case.


According to Quartz, the class of 2010 graduated in the middle of a recession with over 10 percent of the class unemployed nine months later. Five years later, the prospects for these attorneys is still not good. Ohio State Moritz College of Law professor Deborah Jones Merritt studied data on Ohio law school graduates from the years 2000 and 2010. Her conclusion: the job market has barely improved for the class of 2010, despite economic growth and graduates’  obtaining years of work experience. In 2010, the average law school graduate had $100,401 in debt on his shoulders.

What should you do when the legal job market slows down?

As for the class of 2000, some graduates did not practice law, but a much larger percentage of 2010 graduates was not practicing—over thirty percent. Plus, according to the Wall Street Journal, the market remains stagnant.

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Now, five years later, the numbers for the class of 2010 have not improved by much. Only 75.1% of the class is practicing law, which is well below the numbers the class of 2000 reported by the time they had been out of school for a year. After three years, 85.3% of the class was practicing law.

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The class of 2010 struggled even more to find jobs at private firms, which offer the opportunity to advance, competitive pay, mentorship, and stability. Nine months after graduation, 48.7% of the class of 2000 worked in private firms. For the class of 2010, only 40.5% worked in private firms 4.5 years after graduating.

Even Canada was affected by the changes in the legal job market.

Close to 10% of the class of 2010 in Ohio resorted to solo practice, where it can be difficult for an attorney to earn an income. Over half of these attorneys had no internet presence advertising it—meaning that “solo practice” may have actually meant temporary jobs, occasional client work, or even unemployment.

In October, many sources reported that jobs were declining.

Some attorneys who did pass the bar, according to Merritt, are working as party planners, firefighters, substitute teachers, or in pest control, tennis instruction, and lingerie sales.

Of course, these numbers are representative only of Ohio, but it is unlikely that other states have seen drastic improvements. The problem is that the recession was not the only factor that impacted the legal profession—it was also oversupply, global competition, the use of non-lawyers, technology, deregulation, and the disaggregation of legal work as well.

Enrollment in law school has plummeted due to the bleak outlook for attorneys, and tuition has dropped as law schools struggle to keep their numbers up. According to CBS, some feel that law school standards are dropping. However, that is not convincing enough for students who worked for three years to accumulate debt with few, if any, job prospects.

Source: Quartz

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