TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, June 24, 2013

More on the NALP Employment Data for the Law School Class of 2012

Following up on Friday's post, NALP: Employment Rate of Law Grads Falls for Fifth Consecutive Year

  • Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), NALP Numbers (Law School Cafe):

Here are my top ten take-aways from the NALP data.

  1. Law school leads to unemployment
  2. Nine months is a long time
  3. If you want to practice law, the outlook is even worse
  4. Many of the jobs are stopgap employment
  5. NALP won’t tell you want you want to know
  6. Law students are subsidizing government and nonprofits
  7. Don’t pay much attention to NALP’s salary figures
  8. After accounting for inflation, today’s reported salaries are lower than ones from the last century
  9. The lights of BigLaw continue to dim
  10. It goes almost without saying that these 2012 graduates paid much more for their law school education than students did in 1991, 2000, or almost any other year

Here's a summary of recent job trends from The National Law Journal:

The five go-to cities (biggest winners for increasing the percentage of lawyers). The legal market is still limping along, but these cities are defying the odds:

  1. Denver +7.5%
  2. Houston + 4.3%
  3. Dallas +3.1%
  4. Miami +3.0%
  5. Pittsburgh +3.0%

[Number six is San Diego (+2.9%]

The five you-might-think-twice-before-you-go cities (biggest losers in lawyer count):

  1. Kansas City -4.0%
  2. Chicago -2.0%
  3. Los Angeles - 1.5%
  4. Seattle - 1.5%
  5. Indianapolis - 1.4%

Number six on that loser list is New York, with an 0.8 percent decline in law jobs.

  • Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), Old Tricks (Law School Cafe):

During the 1970s, NALP manipulated data about law school career outcomes in a way that makes more contemporary methods look tame. ... I’m startled by the sheer audacity of this data manipulation. Equally important, I think it’s essential for law schools to recognize our long history of distorting data about employment outcomes. During the early years of these reports, NALP didn’t even have a technical staff: these reports were written and vetted by placement directors from law schools. It’s a sorry history.

In other NALP news, the organization unveiled a new logo and tagline at the 2013 NALP Annual Education Conference:

NALP New Logo
Because of NALP, lawyers, law schools and law students are able to connect on an even playing field—which means that lawyers find great jobs in some of the nation’s leading firms. NALP also helps law firms and others recruit, develop, and support some of the best legal minds in the country. When faced with the challenge of how best to position themselves with their key audiences, NALP turned to Mission Minded who led the research and strategy that established a new brand. We then helped them bring their brand to life through key messages, visual identity and tagline. The new brand gives focus and clarity to NALP’s communications, helping the association better connect with its members.

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