The NALP has released its latest employment data, and it isn’t pretty. The overall employment rate (measured as of February 15, 2012) for the Class of 2011 is at 85.6%, which is the lowest it has been since 1994. This rate fell two percentage points from last year, and has dropped each year since 2008. The number of graduates moving on to private practice is even more dismal—only 49.5%.
Above the Law posits, “Should the class of 2011 ‘known better’ than to go to law school? Not really, when you consider the information that was available to them at the time.” These recent grads had no idea what was ahead of them when they applied to law school, since “there were no signs that the legal economic boom was showing any signs of slowing, and yet by the time they graduated they faced what was arguably the worst entry-level legal employment market in more than 30 years,” NALP Executive Director James Leipold pointed out. Talk about bad timing!
And for the 85.6% who can call themselves “employed,” only 65.4% have jobs requiring bar passage, a figure that has dropped over nine percentage points in the last few years, and is an all-time low for the NALP. Not to mention the jobs reported as part-time and/or temporary. Biglaw numbers are dropping as well, down to 16.2% (of grads in private practice) from 20.5% last year.
Hopefully these stats represent rock bottom, especially since recruiting data for the next classes reveals a slight improvement.