TaxProf Blog

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

Monday, February 10, 2014

24% of JDs Who Passed the Bar in 2000 Aren’t Practicing Law

ABA Logo 2ABA Journal:  24 Percent of JDs Who Passed the Bar in 2000 Aren’t Practicing Law, Survey Finds, by Debra Cassens Weiss:

A third-wave survey of lawyers who passed the bar in 2000 has found a decline in the percentage of lawyers practicing law and major differences in pay based on gender, law school ranking and grades.

Twenty-four percent of the surveyed lawyers were not practicing law in 2012, compared to about 9 percent who weren’t practicing law in 2003, according to preliminary survey findings. The results are from the After the JD study, which tracked a national sample of lawyers who passed the bar in 2000 with surveys in three waves—in 2003, 2007 and 2012. ...

"These are the golden age graduates," said American Bar Foundation faculty fellow Ronit Dinovitzer after the presentation, "and even among the golden age graduates, 24 percent are not practicing law." ...

The 2012 respondents were largely happy with their decision to attend law school. Asked to rate their satisfaction with their decision to become a lawyer on a 1-to-5 scale, the average was 3.92. Asked whether law school was a good investment on a 1-to-7 scale, the average was 5.5. Asked whether would go to law school if they had it to do over again using a 1-to-7 scale, the average was 4.91.

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The title to the article seems a little off to me. Isn’t a 76% retention ratio among individuals who passed the bar after 12 years actually a good thing? Especially considering it is caused in part by the many lucrative opportunities in business and cushy opportunities in education and government afforded to experienced attorneys. Law schools and many of the law school critics seem joined at the hip in the misguided view that the only good job for a law graduate is practicing law in a law firm.

Posted by: John Treu | Feb 10, 2014 1:13:56 PM