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How Come Everybody Else Got a Law Job?

Jobs reports can be confusing, even for law graduates and licensed lawyers.

But when one report says unemployment is at the lowest level in two decades and you still don't have a job, it can be infuriating. And how is it that the employment rate for law grads is the highest since the recession, and you're still sending out resumes?!

If that's you, or if jobs reports just make you want to scratch your head, here are some reasons it seems like everybody else got a law job:

Numbers Don't Lie

Mark Twain, who would have been a late-night comedian if television had been invented in 1850, loved to hate politicians. He famously said, "Figures don't lie, but liars figure."

The point is, you can't always trust "official" reports because politicians will use them for their agendas. Law schools and attorneys misuse statistics for their purposes as well.

That's not saying the current jobs reports are false, but it is at least confusing when employers add fewer jobs and unemployment rates drop at the same time. It's apparently true for the general jobs picture and for law jobs in particular.

Law dean Paul Caron, writing about the latest law placement report, said employment is up for new attorneys. On the other hand, law jobs are down -- for the fourth year in a row.

"Official" Explanation

James Leipold, executive director of the National Association for Law Placement, said the "falloff in law school placement" and a "recovering BigLaw market" have helped correct the job market for graduates. However, he said the unemployment rate for attorneys "ten months after graduation still remains higher than it should be."

So does that mean graduates who don't pass the bar the first time are getting left behind? Or is it that there are fewer graduates competing for those jobs?

In either case, it's a good idea to crash the boards for law jobs as soon as possible. Don't wait for graduation because, statistics say, the longer you take, the lower your chances of getting a job.

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