“Worst job market yet”

That’s the headline for the latest legal employment report from NALP, the Association for Legal Career Professionals. Reporting on the Class of 2011’s employment 9 months after graduation (February 2012), NALP found that

  • Only 85.6% of graduates (for whom employment status was known) were employed
  • Only 65.4% (of those for whom the employment status was known) obtained a job for which bar passage is required (i.e., work as an attorney), “the lowest percentage NALP has ever measured.” It’s unclear from the report how many of those are in permanent full-time jobs.
  • According to NALP Executive Director James Leipold, “Absent another significant national or international economic setback, I would expect to see some aspects of the employment profile for the next two classes begin to inch up, though there is nothing to indicate a rapid recovery or a likely return to pre-recession employment levels any time in the near future.” (emphasis added)

You should read the full report here (PDF).  But here’s a good graphical representation of the bad news, taken from NALP’s report.

NALP Employment data 2011

After reviewing the full report, please read (again, if necessary) my discussion of whether law school is worth the investment.  Going to law school is a huge financial decision; you owe it to your future self (and family) to be as informed as possible as you make it.