Miami New Times: “students facing six-figure debts and zero job prospects are howling that JDs aren’t much more than university approved shams. . . . The new program, called the Legal Corps, will place graduating students without job offers at public agencies, public interest organizations and judicial chambers for six months. The firms and courts will pay nada, while UM will pick up a $2,500 monthly stipend.”
The National Law Journal: A recent paper in the Journal of Legal Education investigates the consequences for law school graduates that fail the bar exam on their first attempt. “during the first five to 10 years out of law school, those who don’t pass the bar lag far behind their peers who do in areas such as earnings, job stability and marriage and divorce rates. Non-bar passers close that gap somewhat in the latter half of their careers, though they never fully catch up with most of their classmates who passed the bar . . . . ‘Law schools owe it to their most at-risk prospective students to provide candid information about the probability and costs of failing the bar examination’,”
Arizona Republic: “New lawyers are competing against out-of-work attorneys for scarce law-firm positions and for entry-level work. More than ever, law-school grads and unemployed lawyers will have to consider non-traditional careers when they look for work, some career experts say.”
I hate to hear these stories, which unfortunately are too common during these difficult economic times. A 26 year old recent law school graduate is interviewed on CNN about her inability to find a lawyer job despite graduating in the top half of her class, passing the Georgia bar on her first attempt and sending out over 100 job applications. She now has a big school loan debt and works as a coffee barista for $7.50 an hour.
The National Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP) issued a press release about the employment status of the 40,833 2009 law school graduates. “NALP’s Class of 2009 Jobs & JDs report is based on information submitted by 192 ABA-accredited law schools on 96% of the graduates in the Class of 2009. . . . The national median salary for the Class of 2009, based on those working full-time and reporting a salary, was $72,000, unchanged from that for the Class of 2008, and the national mean was $93,454. However, because some large law firm salaries cluster in the $160,000 range while many other salaries cluster in the $40,000–$65,000 range, relatively few salaries were actually near the median or mean.”
“The overall employment rate of 88.3% for Class of 2009 graduates for whom employment status was known represents a 3.6 percentage point drop from the recent historical high of 91.9% for the Class of 2007 . . . nearly 25% of all jobs were reported as temporary . . . .”
See the “Salary Distribution Curve.” For more on the NALP’s findings about the class of 2009, read Employment for the Class of 2009 — Selected Findings or view the May press release about the findings.