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ABA report: 2013 law grads struggling to find work

By Traci R. Gentilozzi
Dolan Media Newswires

It’s still a tough job market for law school graduates.

While the class of 2013 was the largest graduating class ever, with about 400 more attorneys than the previous year, graduates unfortunately aren’t having much better luck finding jobs, according to the American Bar Association.

Entry-level employment data released this week by the ABA shows that 57 percent of the 46,776 graduates in 2013 found full-time, long-term jobs that required bar passage within nine months of graduation. This number is up slightly from 56.2 percent in 2012.

An additional 10.1 percent landed jobs for which a law degree is an advantage, but not required. This figure is an increase from 9.5 percent the previous year.

Meanwhile, the percentage of graduates still looking for work as of Feb. 15, 2014, rose from 10.6 percent in 2012 to 11.2 percent for the class of 2013.

jobs“The legal employment market has remained almost the same as last year, with a very modest uptick in outcomes, said Scott Norberg, deputy consultant to the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. “Unemployed and seeking went up slightly from last year.”

The number of new lawyers employed at law firms with more than 500 attorneys increased by about 10 percent, from 3,643 to 3,989. However, the number of new graduates at firms of between two and 500 attorneys grew by less than 1 percent. The percentage of graduates in jobs in business and industry grew from 14.9 percent to 15.2 percent.

The percentage of recent graduates in government jobs increased slightly, from 10 percent to 10.6 percent. The ABA attributed some of this decline to the changing definition of public defender positions — they used to be public interest jobs but are now classified as government jobs.

And school-funded jobs accounted for 4 percent of all jobs, up slightly from 3.9 percent the previous year.

Next year, the ABA will begin collecting and reporting employment data 10 months after graduation, instead of nine months. The change came after law school deans in several states argued that late bar exam results were hurting their jobs numbers because students had less time to find a job after being admitted to practice.


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