Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Law School Graduate Employment Data Shows Decline in Legal Jobs:
In recent months, we’ve seen signs of an emerging recovery in the legal education market. Newly released employment statistics for the Class 2015, however, won’t help build the case for optimism, according to a professor’s analysis.
At first blush, the latest numbers released by the American Bar Association on Monday suggest a positive trend: A larger percentage of new graduates of ABA-accredited schools are landing legal jobs as compared to last year’s figures. But that outcome is overshadowed by a more dispiriting national trend, according to legal education numbers guru Jerry Organ of the University of St. Thomas School of Law.
Over at Legal Whiteboard blog, Mr. Organ crunches the numbers and finds a sharp decline in the number of full-time legal jobs occupied by the Class of 2015. He writes:
Because there was a significant decline in the number of graduates across these law schools between 2014 and 2015, however, this modest increase in the percentage of graduates in these positions masks an actual decline in the number of graduates in such positions. ...
For law schools, the new data comes at a time when they’re just starting to dig out of a historic slump in applicants. “It is discouraging news,” Mr. Organ told Law Blog.
The trend may not be entirely understood. But the employment numbers, he writes, could be seen as a “cautionary tale,” suggesting that the “good news on the applicant front may be somewhat short-lived.”
Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), ABA Employment Stats: Class of 2015:
The ABA has just released employment statistics for the Class of 2015. As Jerry Organ speculated over the weekend, the report is decidedly mixed. The percentage of graduates holding full-time, long-term jobs requiring bar passage edged up slightly, from 59.9% in 2014 to 60.3% in 2015.
This small increase, however, resulted from the drop in the number of graduates–rather than from any increase in available jobs. Graduates fell 9.2% between the two years, from 43,832 in 2014 to 39,817 in 2015. The actual number of FTLT bar-required jobs also fell, from 26,248 in 2014 to 23,993 in 2015. That’s a hefty decline of 2,255 jobs or 8.6%.
Matt Leichter, Class of 2015 Employment Report:
Pertinently, 59.9 percent of graduates held full-time jobs requiring bar passage, up only slightly from 58.7 percent for the class of 2014 and 55.9 percent for the class of 2013. (None of these figures include school-funded jobs.) The actual number of such jobs fell again to 23,600 from 25,344 last year. That’s a 6.9 percent decline. It’s troubling that demand for new full-time lawyers is falling with graduates. The phenomenon suggests that many graduates in past years were finding less stable work than the full-time/long-term category implies. Instead, fewer graduates aren’t translating to higher employment rates. I expected things to look better this year.
And now, what you crave: the year-over-year comparison table for each law school, sorted by their 2015 percentage of graduates in full-time bar-passage required jobs:
- Chicago (90.8%)
- Penn (89.8%)
- Cornell (89.6%)
- Duke (88.9%)
- NYU (87.4%)
- Columbia (87.2%)
- Harvard (85.9%)
- UC-Berkeley (85.3%)
- Stanford (85.1%)
- Michigan (85.0%)