Paul L. Caron

Monday, December 6, 2021

Big Law Hiring Of Law School Graduates Has Nearly Doubled In Nine Years

Bloomberg Law, Big Law’s Talent Shortage Raises Vexing Questions on ‘Quality’:

[P]artners struggle with the idea of hiring more law school graduates because of concerns over “quality.” They only hire the best, they say, and they need to make sure that continues. ...

Here’s a hypothetical. In 20 years, only 25 law firms exist in the U.S., and they all employ at least 500 lawyers.

The number of U.S. law school graduates has stagnated for a decade while Big Law has quietly doubled the share of graduates it hires. For the law school class of 2012, 4,600 graduates ended up working full-time at law firms with more than 250 lawyers, according to American Bar Association data. That was just shy of 10% of all law school graduates. Last year, nearly 18% of graduates went to firms with 250 or more lawyers. ...

The firms grow so large that they employ nearly every U.S. law school graduate going into private practice. ... In this world, would Big Law continue to ubiquitously claim that they hire “the best of the best?” After all, they would be hiring everybody. ...

It might sound far-fetched, but this hypothetical is not far from where things are headed.


If the trend line from the last decade continues unabated, “Big Law” would hire about 37% of law school graduates by 2040. That figure would encompass the vast majority of lawyers going into private practice. (Last year, 48% of graduates went into private practice at law firms.)

ABA Journal, A Higher Percentage of Law Grads Are Getting Hired by Larger Firms

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