Paul L. Caron

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Pandemic Clobbers Job Starts For Law School Class Of 2020 Graduates

NALP, Law Schools Report Rescinded Employment Offers, Law Firms Report Uncertainty About Associate Start Dates in Second Series of NALP Pulse Surveys:

NALP New LogoThe National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP) has released key findings from a second round of “pulse” surveys of NALP members about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. legal employers, law schools, and JD students. In May 2020, NALP began conducting a series of short “pulse” surveys, releasing the first round of results in early June. The surveys are designed to quantify the rapidly evolving changes occurring in the industry.

Key findings from the second round of surveys, conducted from June 18-30, 2020, are included in the report. In total, 356 offices completed the legal employers survey, of which 264 held summer programs in 2020, and 167 schools completed the law schools survey. A third set of surveys will go out in late July.

Key findings for law schools include:

  • Nearly half (49%) of schools reported that some of their Class of 2020 graduates had their post-graduate employment offers rescinded. Schools in the Southeast region (58%) and those with more than 750 JD students (61%) were most likely to report graduates with rescinded offers.
  • Rescinded offers were reported most frequently in private practice, with 85% of schools* reporting graduates with rescinded offers in this sector. (*Of schools reporting graduates with rescinded offers.)
  • 69% of schools that offer post-graduate fellowship funding reported that their funding for the Class of 2020 was flat in comparison to the Class of 2019 and only 13% reported increased funding.
  • Nearly half (49%) of law schools have invested in new or increased technology for virtual counseling, interviews, and meetings, and 21% are still considering such additional investments.
  • Of those law school career services offices (CSOs) that have determined their operation plans for fall 2020, 61% plan to operate via a hybrid model (e.g., provide some services in-person and some remotely).
  • Half (50%) of law school CSOs experienced budget cuts between March 15 - June 30, 2020 and 58% anticipate budget cuts for the upcoming year (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021). Schools in the West/Rocky Mountain region (64%) were most likely to report budgets cuts in spring 2020 and schools in the Midwest (64%) and Northeast (63%) regions were most likely to anticipate budget cuts in the upcoming year.
  • 14% of law school career services offices have experienced staff furloughs or layoffs since March 15, 2020.

Bloomberg Law, Pandemic Clobbers Job Starts for Law Graduates:

A significant number of 2020 law school graduates are having job offers withdrawn or delayed due to fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, a new survey shows.

Nearly half of the 167 schools participating in the National Association for Law Placement survey reported that graduates had employment offers rescinded and 85% of schools said most involved private practice.

Half of graduates didn’t have start dates when the survey was taken in the last half of June, and nearly two thirds of those who do won’t begin work until January, months after the traditional fall starting dates.

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