Paul L. Caron

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Another Banner Year For Lawyers (Especially In California)

BLS (2015)Stephen Diamond (Santa Clara), Another Banner Year For Lawyers, BLS Reports:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is out with its annual employment report and the news is, once again, very positive for lawyers. Lawyers’ incomes and employment numbers have increased steadily over the last two decades (except for a decline in incomes in 2008 at the onset of the financial crisis).

The BLS reports that the total number of lawyers employed as of May 2016 was 619,530 compared with 609,930 the year before. Lawyers’ mean income was $118,160 compared to last year’s wage of $115,820.

The outlook here in California continues to be strong with 76,840 lawyers earning a mean annual wage of $162,010. This compares to 72,790 lawyers the year before who earned a slightly higher mean wage of $163,020.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics is in on the law school scam, defrauding young kids with misleading facts and figures directly from employers.

Wait a minute . . .

Posted by: The Paranoid Style | Apr 3, 2017 4:21:04 AM

Meanwhile, at Steve's own law school:

Class of 2015: 219 graduates. Only 86 found long-term, full-time, license-required jobs at any salary within ten months of graduation. That's an incredible 39% of the class. 62 graduates were still unemployed and looking for work ten months after graduation. That's a 28% unemployment rate.

Class of 2014: 261 grads, 91 with FT/LT/bar jobs (34%), 81 unemployed (31%).

Class of 2013: 322 grads 142 LT/FT/bar (44%), 64 unemployed (19.8%)

Class of 2012: 298 grads, 128 FT/LT/bar (42%), 66 unemployed (22%).

Class of 2011: 296 grads, 127 FT/LT/bar (42%), 72 unemployed (24%).


Oh, and from footnote 1 of Steve’s actual BLS link: “Estimates for detailed occupations do not sum to the totals because the totals include occupations not shown separately. ESTIMATES DO NOT INCLUDE SELF-EMPLOYED WORKERS.” [my emphasis]

And from the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook: “more price competition over the next decade may lead law firms to rethink their project staffing to reduce costs to clients. Clients are expected to cut back on legal expenses by demanding less expensive rates and scrutinizing invoices. Work that was previously assigned to lawyers, such as document review, may now be given to paralegals and legal assistants. Some routine legal work may also be outsourced to other lower-cost legal providers located overseas…. Competition for jobs should continue to be strong because more students are graduating from law school each year than there are jobs available.”

“The outlook here in California continues to be strong with 76,840 lawyers earning a mean annual wage of $162,010”

Wow. What about the other 175,000 members of the California bar? That’s right: there are about a quarter million active and inactive California bar members, not 76,000. Whoops.

Finally, $115,820 in 2015 is worth $117,820 in 2016 dollars (BLS, ever helpful, has an inflation calculator), so in real terms Steve is bragging about a 0.28% wage increase.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Apr 3, 2017 9:18:51 AM

2016: 81 unemployed (31%)

Those are real people, Steve.

What happened to them?

Do you just not ask questions that you don't want answered?

Posted by: terry malloy | Apr 3, 2017 11:08:48 AM

Is this article a sales pitch by someone who happens to be a law professor? Or is this serious analysis by an academic? If this is the latter, the failure to mention the BLS outlook is a serious oversight. Not to mention, we have data on what the average solo practitioner makes. As law professors might not be aware, there are over 350,000 solo practitioners. According to the IRS, their average salary was $49,000 in 2012. A simple google search provided that data. Perhaps google was down at the time this article was being written? I’m also curious why Diamond overlooked the meager increase in attorneys. The number of attorneys increased by about 10,000. Yet ABA accredited law schools produce well over 30,000 graduates a year. What happened to the other tens of thousands of graduates?

Maybe Diamond and The Paranoid Style above could also explain why lawyers are much more likely to be depressed and abuse alcohol and drugs compared to other professionals, when we are in the middle of another banner year for lawyers? You can find the study The Prevalence of Substance Use and Other Mental Health Concerns Among American Attorneys, by Krill and Johnson, in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

We also have the Deborah Jones Merritt paper that found that law grads from 2010 are working as tennis instructors, party planners, and lingerie salespeople. Should those grads celebrate the news that lawyers are earning six figure salaries? Strange too that this is a banner year for the legal profession, but government GDP by industry data show that the legal industry has declined substantially since 2000. That data is freely available on the BEA website.

This is the kind of “analysis” one would expect from Fox News, climate change deniers, or the tobacco industry. Not someone who is a supposed to be a serious academic.

Posted by: anon JD/MD | Apr 3, 2017 12:10:45 PM

So the numbers posted by Unemployed Northeasterner and Terry Malloy look bad in terms of sheer volume, but I have a hard time being sympathetic to an unemployed law graduate who attended a school barely in the top 100, was likely ranked in the bottom 20-25% of his or her class, and has still not found any type of full-time employment 9-10 months post graduation. This is a person who probably should not be a lawyer and, if they can't even find a burger stand to flip burgers at in 10 months, they probably deserve to be unemployed and posting endlessly drivel on taxprof blog comment boards. It's also ridiculous to post the "bar passage required" numbers. Just sayin'

Posted by: JackTheRipper | Apr 4, 2017 7:09:04 AM