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

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Boston's Supply Of Lawyers Falls Far Short Of Firms' Heavy Demand

Boston Business Journal, Boston's Supply of Lawyers Falls Far Short of Firms' Heavy Demand:

Demand for legal talent may never have been higher in Boston — and it's far outpacing the number of available attorneys, according to managing partners and legal recruiters.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2018/04/bostons-supply-of-lawyers-falls-far-short-of-firms-heavy-demand.html

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Comments

"Why can't there be more Yale grads?" mused law firms (Goodwin Proctor, Hogan Lovells, and Hunton & Williams) that do not even bother interviewing potential SAs at more than 3 of the state's 9 law schools. Give me a break.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Apr 26, 2018 8:46:17 AM

Don't believe me? Make a throwaway resume with a Suffolk or Northeastern or New England Law School degree on it, plus an undergrad degree from literally anywhere sub-Ivy. Law school graduation with no employment plans in hand. OK, now mail / email it to every law firm in Boston. Be prepared for a whole lot of nothing.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Apr 26, 2018 8:49:05 AM

Let’s take a numerical look at that purported lawyer shortage in Boston based upon the LT/FT/license-required outcomes of its non-elite law schools:

Northeastern:
2017: 101 of 142 (10 at large law firms)
2016: 99 of 173 (7 at large law firms)
2015: 106 of 167 (14 at large law firms)
2014: 115 of 216 (15 at large law firms)
2013: 100 of 218 (14 at large law firms)
2012: 93 of 215 (10 at large law firms)
2011: 90 of 182 (2 at large law firms)

Suffolk:
2017: 148 of 317 (23 at large law firms)
2016: 178 of 412 (22 at large law firms)
2015: 202 of 464 (23 at large law firms)
2014: 231 of 493 (28 at large law firms)
2013: 177 of 479 (21 at large law firms)
2012: 206 of 517 (43 at large law firms)
2011: 193 of 502 (24 at large law firms)

New England Law Boston:
2017: 81 of 212 (7 at large law firms)
2016: 81 of 210 (1 at large law firms)
2015: 143 of 334 (4 at large law firms)
2014: 126 of 299 (4 at large law firms)
2013: 139 of 342 (3 at large law firms)
2012: 123 of 339 (2 at large law firms)
2011: 106 of 308 (3 at large law firms)

A few things immediately stand out:

- Contrary to the headline of a lawyer shortage, the ABA employment stats very clearly show a massive backlog of underemployed & unemployed law school graduates in Boston. Just eyeballing those numbers shows a cumulative legal employment rate at those three law schools of less than 50% over seven years.

- At all three law schools, the number of grads getting FT/LT/license-required jobs is either flat (Northeastern) or declining (Suffolk, New England), despite the recovering economy and purported lawyer shortage.

- With the exception of Suffolk in 2012, the amount of grads getting picked up by the types of large law firms like Goodwin and Hogan mentioned in the article is both very small and quite constant. It would seem if there were a shortage of lawyers in Boston, more grads from the bottom half of Boston’s law schools would be hired by these firms. But that is not happening. Incidentally, it has been related to me (albeit anecdotally) that before the Great Recession, something like 30-40 Northeastern grads were going into large law firms each year. Now it’s barely into double digits. Shortage? Pshaw.

Gosh, it’s almost as if this lawyer shortage is of mid-career laterals with portable books & elite pedigrees and not of fledgling proles… After all, if “Demand for legal talent may never have been higher in Boston — and it's far outpacing the number of available attorneys, according to managing partners and legal recruiters,” really were inclusive, these law schools would manage to place more than half of their classes in the legal profession and more than 10% of their grads in Biglaw. Res ipsa, folks.

P.S. even BC and BU are only placing 75% to 80% in the legal profession these days.

P.P.S. Just checked Mass Lawyers Weekly, which is THE source for legal job listings in the state (aside from the Harvard job board, I suppose). Not a single entry-level listing. Not one.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Apr 26, 2018 9:42:10 AM