Things are getting worse. This from The National Law Journal.

Slightly more than half of the class of 2011 — 55 percent — found full-time, long-term jobs that require bar passage nine months after they graduated, according to employment figures released on June 18 by the American Bar Association.

The statistic was perhaps the most sobering in a season of bad news about new lawyer employment. Less than one week earlier, the National Association for Law Placement reported that only two-thirds of new graduates landed any type of job requiring their law degree, and that the overall employment rate hit an 18-year low at 85.6 percent.

This is the first time the ABA has required law schools to report the number of their graduates in full-time, long-term legal jobs — a statistic that transparency advocates consider the most important for prospective law students. Previously, schools could lump together recent graduates in part-time jobs and full-time jobs, making it difficult to know how many graduates secured the most coveted jobs.

And even those figures are inflated!

But the information may give some would-be lawyers pause. When including part-time and short-term jobs that require bar passage, less than two-thirds of new graduates — 63 percent — were in legal jobs nine months after leaving law school. Another 12 percent were in jobs for which a J.D. degree was preferred but not required. Another 5 percent were in business or non-legal jobs. Nine percent reported that they were unemployed and seeking work.

The nonprofit group Law School Transparency used the ABA’s numbers to calculate what it calls the “underemployment rate,” including graduates who are unemployed and looking for work, in short-term or part-time jobs, seeking additional degrees, and in nonprofessional jobs. More than a quarter of new graduates — 26 percent — fell into those categories. At 20 law schools, more than 40 percent of graduates fell into Law School Transparency’s definition of underemployed.


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