Employment Comparisons and Trends for Men and Women, Minorities and Non-minorities

NALP Bulletin, April 2002 

A look at the graduate employment data over the years shows that, historically, women and minorities are less likely to take jobs in law firms and more likely to take jobs with public sector employers. The table below presents data from Employment Report and Salary Survey and Jobs and J.D.'s reports for the Classes of 1982, 1988, 1994, and 2000. Note that minorities are defined as African-Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and Hispanics of any race.

 

  • Compared to men, women from the Class of 2000 were less likely to enter private practice and more likely to accept public service positions within government or public interest organization or as judicial clerks. This pattern is similar to those of prior years, although the differences in the percentage of men and women entering private practice have fluctuated from 7.5 percentage points in 1994 to 4.5 percentage points in 2000.

  • It is also the case that, compared with men going into private practice, women are more likely to take jobs in firms of more than 100 attorneys and less likely to take jobs in very small firms of 2-10 attorneys. The percentage of women going into private practice and taking jobs in large firms has been 3 to 4 percentage points higher than the rate for men, with the largest differentials in 1988 and 2000.

  • The rate of public service employment has shown small fluctuations over the years. In general, about one-third of women take such positions, compared with one-quarter of men.

  • Minorities likewise enter private practice less frequently than do non-minorities. However, the 7.3 percentage point differential in 2000 is less than half the 15.9% percentage point difference in 1982.

  • As is the case for men compared to women, minorities entering private practice are more likely to obtain jobs in firms of more than 100 attorneys than are non-minorities, even as the share of jobs in large law firms has generally increased over the period for both groups. For the Class of 2000, the figures were 45.6% and 36.8%, respectively. This differential of almost 9 percentage points is higher than in 1982 and 1988, lower than in 1994, when the difference was 11.3 percentage points.

  • Compared to non-minorities, minorities have been and remain more likely to take public service jobs, particularly jobs in government and public interest organizations. However, because of an overall decline in the prevalence of such jobs among minorities and an increase in public service employment among non-minorities, the difference between minorities and non-minorities is one-quarter what it was in 1982 — 3.3 percentage points versus 12.6 percentage points.

Initial Employer Types —
Comparisons for the Classes of 1982, 1988, 1994, and 2000

Men and Women


1982

1988

1994

2000

Men

Women

Men

Women

Men

Women

Men

Women

Private Practice

60.4%

54.2%

66.4%

61.6%

58.9%

51.4%

58.0%

53.5%

Size of Firm*

Solo

7.7

5.8

3.0

2.1

5.7

4.1

2.6

1.8

2-10

38.9

36.9

28.3

26.9

36.0

35.6

27.6

25.4

11-25

14.4

13.5

14.3

13.6

12.1

10.8

10.2

9.7

26-50

10.7

10.1

12.1

11.4

7.6

6.5

7.3

7.0

51-100

9.5

11.7

13.0

12.8

7.6

7.9

7.0

7.2

101+

13.9

17.0

26.2

30.1

22.4

26.0

36.7

40.6

Business/Industry

11.5

8.5

7.5

6.0

12.2

10.9

13.3

10.6

Government

12.8

14.2

13.1

14.8

12.6

14.9

12.9

14.5

Judicial Clerkships

9.4

13.8

11.2

14.6

11.4

15.2

10.3

14.0

Public Interest

1.4

3.4

1.0

2.2

1.8

3.8

1.7

3.8

Academic

1.1

1.9

0.8

1.3

0.8

1.4

0.9

1.3

Total # of Jobs

15,695

7,139

13,252

8,839

13,936

10,076

16,344

13,626

Minorities and Non-minorities


1982

1988

1994

2000

Non-
minorities

Minorities

Non-
minorities

Minorities

Non-
minorities

Minorities

Non-
minorities

Minorities

Private Practice

59.4%

43.5%

65.3%

55.3%

57.5%

46.2%

57.5%

50.2%

Size of Firm*

 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


Solo

7.2

6.5

2.6

3.0

5.2

4.7

2.1

2.4

2-10

38.4

35.5

28.2

23.3

37.4

27.5

28.1

21.7

11-25

14.3

11.1

14.2

12.2

12.1

8.9

10.6

7.7

26-50

10.7

8.1

11.9

10.9

7.5

5.6

7.5

6.1

51-100

10.1

10.0

12.9

12.8

7.6

9.3

7.2

6.8

101+

14.5

21.3

27.3

32.4

22.7

34.0

36.8

45.6

Business/Industry

10.5

11.4

6.8

7.4

11.7

11.4

11.6

13.8

Government

12.8

21.0

12.8

22.5

12.4

20.8

12.9

17.1

Judicial Clerkships

10.9

9.6

12.9

9.8

13.3

11.6

12.6

10.1

Public Interest

1.7

7.4

1.3

3.4

2.2

5.4

2.4

3.7

Academic

1.3

1.8

0.9

1.5

0.9

1.8

1.0

1.5

Total # of Jobs

21,495

1,339

19,935

2,156

19,622

3,298

22,993

5,332

Note: Percentages are based on all graduates known to be employed, including those for whom employer type is unknown. Percentages for unknown employer types are not shown; hence percentages may not add to 100. Data for 1982 and 1988 were adjusted to conform with classifications used in 1994 to 2000. Graduates pursuing an advanced degree full-time are excluded from the academic category for 1982, and public defenders are counted under government rather than public interest for 1982 and 1988. Because of these adjustments, the figures shown here may differ from those published in Jobs & JD's or ERSS reports. Class of 1994 and 2000 figures are based on full-time jobs only. Figures based on all jobs vary only slightly, generally a few tenths of a percent.
* Percentages by size of firm are based on law firm jobs only and do not add to 100 because the unknown size category is not shown.
National Association for Law Placement, Inc.® (NALP®)
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