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One word can describe the JD employment market: grim. No, make that two words: very grim.
NALP has recently released some of the statistics about the class of 2010, and the results are dismal - and that's a generous assessment.
The survey of about 41,156 class of 2010 law school graduates showed that only 68.4% of them found jobs that required bar passage. JD-preferred jobs accounted for about 10.7% of employed grads, and sadly there were still about 6.2% of graduates still looking for jobs, and about 3.2% who are "not seeking jobs."
That 3.2% not seeking jobs seems a bit troubling. What, did they get so frustrated that they just quit the job search?
These statistics won't make their way onto law school recruitment brochures. Who wants to go to law school if they realize that they might only have a 68.4% chance of actually getting a job that requires passing the bar? Surely there will still be hundreds of applicants lining up to pay that $50,000 a year tuition.
Overall, the employment rate for 2010 grads is at around 87.6% - keeping in mind that the statistics only reflect those graduates who reported their employment status. So, the actual employment rate for law grads may be much lower, considering the likelihood that frustrated and sad graduates may actually be inclined to respond to requests about their employment status is probably lower than those who are happily employed at firms and other jobs.
So, where do these lucky employed graduates end up? Not exactly where you'd think. Only about 50.9% of the graduates are employed in private practice, and 15.1% of graduates were employed in business.
And, this new NALP data does not reveal anything about salary levels, which one can only presume is a bit lower than previous years. After all, all the statistics seem to be pointing toward a downward spiral in the JD employment market - percent of graduates holding jobs requiring bar passage used to be up at 74.7% for the class of 2008. So to all class of 2011 law school graduates, and the 6.2% of class of 2010 law school graduates still looking for a job - happy hunting!