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Employment Rate for New Law School Graduates Rise
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Summary: The National Association for Law Placement released its “Employment for the Class of 2016” summary today. 

For recent law school graduates, today there’s a bit of good news. According to a new report, the employment rate has risen to 87.5% for new grads, and this is partly due to less competition because of decreased class sizes.

  
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The National Association for Law Placement (NALP) released the “Employment for the Class of 2016 – Selected Findings,” a summary of findings from the upcoming annual Jobs & JDs: Employment and Salaries of New Law School Graduates — Class of 2016 report, which will be published in October. The key data that was released showed that despite less jobs being offered, the employment rate was high due to decreased graduation class sizes.

“For the third year in a row the employment rate is shaped by a smaller number of jobs and a smaller graduating class size, with graduates benefitting from slightly less competition for the jobs that exist. The employment rate has risen because the falloff in the size of the graduating class has been larger than the falloff in the number of jobs secured,” said James G. Leipold, the executive director of The National Association for Law Placement (NALP).

“While the percentage of law school graduates who are unemployed and still seeking work ten months after graduation has come down by two and a half percentage points to 8.7% over the last three years, it continues to be more than twice as high as the unemployment rate measured nine months after graduation in the period prior to the recession, and this, more than anything, remains an important marker of the current job market for new law school graduates,” Leipold continued.

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According to NALP, jobs in every sector except at the largest law firms went down. Law firms with more than 500 attorneys, on the other hand, hired more recent graduates than at any time since the recession of 2008.

NALP also stated that the median salary for the Class of 2016 was $65,000, which was a $200 increase from the Class of 2015. This number differed from the national mean, which was $90,305 and had increased by almost $7,000 from the year before due to the Cravath Effect at BigLaw firms.



At law firms, the mean salary for the Class of 2016 was $113,571, which had decreased from the Class of 2009’s mean salary of $115,000. NALP said that the reason for this is “the fact that there are fewer of the highest paying law firm jobs than there were before the recession but many of those jobs now carry a higher starting salary.”

While the recession may have caused fewer jobs to exist, NALP said that the government has continued to be a steady source of jobs for new grads and these jobs are unaffected by the economy. Meanwhile, law school funded jobs, public interest sector jobs, jobs in education, and solo practitioner work has declined post-recession.

What do you think of NALP’s findings? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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