The News: On August 17, 2016, the Wall Street Journal Law Journal published a Sara Randazzo piece entitled “Law School Graduates Findings Fewer Private Practice Jobs.” Enjoy this stellar opening:
“The number of law school graduates entering private practice after getting their degrees has shrunk to the lowest level in nearly two decades, according to a new report.
The overall employment rate for the class of 2015 has rebounded somewhat from a post-recession plunge. But not since 1996 have so few graduates secured jobs in private practice, according to the National Association for Law Placement’s 2015 employment survey released Wednesday.
Among the roughly 40,000 students who graduated last year, 17,168 landed private-practice jobs, NALP’s report found.
Another 9,829 graduates were clerking for judges or were employed either in government, the public-interest sector or academia. And another 5,769 graduates got business jobs.
“I was surprised to see that the private practice number was so low,” NALP’s executive director, James Leipold, said in the report. “You have to go back to 1996 to find a comparably small number of private practice jobs.”
Mr. Leipold called the entry-level market “remarkably flat by almost every measure” and noted that many new graduates have to compete with lawyers already in the market for jobs as the number of positions set aside for entry-level hires shrinks.
At 86.7%, the class of 2015 employment rate didn’t change from the year before. That figure is two percentage points higher than in 2012 but more than five percentage points lower than the class of 2007. The more stable rate figure reflects a steep drop in overall law school enrollment[.]” [Emphasis mine]
Still want to take the law school plunge, waterhead?!?! These private practice jobs also include solo practices and firms with 2-10 lawyers, which typically feature high stress, instability, and low pay.
Other Coverage: On August 17, the New York Times DealBook posted an Elizabeth Olson contribution, which was labeled “2015 Law School Graduates Got Fewer Jobs in Private Practice.” Review the following excerpt:
“Last year’s law school graduates landed fewer jobs in private practice than any class in the last two decades, according to the National Association for Law Placement, which tracks developments in the legal profession.
“You have to go back to 1996 to find a comparably small number of private practice jobs,” said James G. Leipold, the association’s executive director. Private practice includes firms of any size as well as solo practitioners.
In 2007, there were 37,123 such jobs, the association found, compared with 33,469 last year, according to the report, “Employment for the Class of 2015 – Selected Findings.”
The number of such jobs for newly credentialed lawyers probably shrank, Mr. Leipold said, because graduates are competing “with other junior lawyers for most jobs other than entry-level associate positions at large law firms, some judicial clerkships and some government honors programs.”
And there is little change in sight, he said, because law firms of every size will face a smaller head count “in the coming years and even decades” as law firms incorporate “growing efficiencies created by technology and business systems and increased competition from nontraditional legal services providers.” [Emphasis mine]
Did you get that, mental midgets?!?! Or do you need Big Bird and Elmo to break this stuff down for you, right before they give you the letter of the day?
One Important Distinction: Let’s go to the organization’s report, Employment for the Class of 2015 – Selected Findings. Consume this nugget, courtesy of Judith N. Collins, director of research at NALP:
“With the Class of 2014, NALP began measuring the employment rate of law graduates as of March 15, or ten months after a typical May graduation. Previously employment status had been measured as of February 15, an important distinction when making comparisons with employment rates prior to 2014.” [Emphasis mine]
This means that the “unchanged” employment rate for JD classes in 2014 and 2015, was due to the fact that the latest class covered had an extra month. Remember, the law school pigs lobbied for this added time. While you, as a lemming, may “think” that this is not significant, you are dead wrong. Many grads will take a job out of desperation, within that additional 30 days. Also, your significant other may leave your ass if you go another month without contributing to the household.
Conclusion: This is a public service announcement for those still considering law school. Pretty much the only guarantee that you have by attending a “legal education” program is that you will accrue outrageous sums of NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt. Avoid financial ruin, and stick to your current job. While you’re at it, make sure not to stick your hand in a lion’s mouth either. It’s also not a good idea to do any of the following: pick up a cub in front of its mother, stick a fork in a power socket, or make a run at an unrestrained, ferocious dog.