Jobs for New Law Graduates — Trends from 1991-2001

NALP Bulletin, August 2002 

ABA data on law school graduates show that, over the past 11 years, women have accounted for between 43% and 47% of law school graduates, and minority representation has increased from about 12% in 1991 to about 20%.

NALP's employment data for the Classes of 1991-2001 show that the proportion of women and minorities among employed graduates as a whole reflect these changes. However, as the table below shows, proportionate representation does not necessarily occur for specific job/ employer categories.

 

  • In firms of 2-10 attorneys, the proportion of jobs obtained by white men has declined (from 58.2% to 48.4%), while the proportion of jobs taken by minorities, particularly minority women, has increased. Nonetheless, relative to their numbers among employed graduates, white men continue to obtain a disproportionately large share of these jobs, while minorities obtain a smaller share.

  • In contrast, the share of jobs in large firms obtained by minorities as a whole has increased in most years since 1993, and has stood at about one in five in recent years. The proportion of jobs taken by white men has decreased from about 52% in 1992 to just over 44% in the past two years. The share of jobs taken by white women has also decreased overall since 1991, although the figure hit its low point in 1992 and has been relatively steady in the past six years.

  • Prosecution positions at all levels of government have consistently been a good source of employment for minorities, particularly minority women, and, to a lesser extent and not as consistently, white women.

  • Jobs in the military present a unique demographic profile. In 1991, nearly three-quarters of these jobs were obtained by white men. After dropping to about 57% in 1997 and 1998, this figure climbed to over 60% in the past three years. Thus, white men continue to be over-represented among graduates obtaining these jobs. This is true for minority men, although fluctuations are evident. Conversely, despite an overall gain, women, particularly white women, remain under-represented among those obtaining jobs in the military.

  • The representation of white men among federal judicial clerks has been either proportional or slightly less than proportional, whereas the opposite is true of white women. Minority men have generally been under-represented, while representation of minority women has been erratic.

  • The percentage of state judicial clerkships obtained by women has consistently exceeded their representation among employed graduates as a whole, whereas white men have been under-represented. Minority men are also under-represented; the presence of minority women, however, mirrors that among employed graduates as a whole.

Demographic Profile of Selected Job Types — 1991-2001
(percent of jobs obtained by each demographic group)


GRADUATING CLASS
1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
All Jobs:
White men 52.4 52.8 52.1 50.6 49.9 48.6 47.8 47.2 47.0 45.3 44.5
White women 36.6 36.2 35.3 35.1 34.1 35.0 34.5 35.0 35.2 35.6 36.2
Minority men* 5.6 5.3 5.9 6.8 7.7 7.8 8.5 8.4 8.3 8.8 8.3
Minority women* 5.4 5.7 6.6 7.5 8.3 8.6 9.2 9.5 9.5 10.3 11.0
# of Jobs Taken** 24,583 23,815 23,869 25,006 26,455 27,887 28,657 30,194 30,261 29,691 29,298
Law Firms of 2 - 10 Attorneys:
White men 58.2 57.5 56.7 55.3 55.3 53.8 53.0 51.7 51.5 51.1 48.4
White women 34.9 35.5 35.5 35.2 33.8 34.8 34.0 34.8 35.7 35.0 36.1
Minority men* 4.0 3.7 3.7 5.0 5.6 5.8 6.5 6.9 6.4 6.6 6.8
Minority women* 2.9 3.3 4.1 4.5 5.3 5.5 6.5 6.6 6.4 7.3 8.7
# of Jobs Taken** 4,593 4,717 5,000 5,222 5,394 5,405 5,204 5,132 4,790 4,581 4,644
Law Firms of More Than 100 Attorneys:
White men 49.8 52.2 50.6 49.3 49.5 46.3 45.6 46.9 46.2 44.5 44.4
White women 38.3 37.4 34.4 33.9 32.2 34.7 35.0 34.9 34.8 35.4 35.4
Minority men* 6.3 5.1 7.5 8.6 9.2 9.3 9.6 9.4 8.5 9.6 9.1
Minority women* 5.6 5.3 7.5 8.2 9.1 9.7 9.8 8.9 10.5 10.5 11.1
# of Jobs Taken** 4,048 2,905 2,659 3,105 3,300 3,731 4,243 5,352 5,968 6,084 6,604
Prosecutors:
White men 45.2 44.4 47.1 42.4 42.7 44.7 43.7 43.4 42.7 40.4 39.7
White women 39.8 37.8 33.6 36.2 35.0 35.6 36.4 36.7 37.7 38.0 38.3
Minority men* 6.8 8.4 9.5 10.1 11.6 8.6 8.3 9.1 8.5 9.7 9.5
Minority women* 8.2 9.3 9.9 11.4 10.8 11.1 11.6 10.9 11.9 11.9 12.5
# of Jobs Taken** 1,087 1,094 1,055 1,100 1,244 1,284 1,488 1,467 1,485 1,485 1,478
Jobs in Military:
White men 73.6 70.1 66.4 66.0 60.2 61.1 57.3 57.9 65.1 61.6 63.7
White women 16.4 18.9 21.6 20.6 23.1 23.9 21.0 23.7 19.4 19.3 21.7
Minority men* 6.7 6.8 7.9 9.8 9.4 10.3 14.2 11.0 10.1 12.9 9.9
Minority women* 3.3 4.2 4.1 3.5 7.3 4.7 7.5 7.4 5.5 6.2 4.7
# of Jobs Taken** 360 355 292 315 329 339 358 337 418 372 383
Federal Judicial Clerks:
White men 50.5 52.8 50.0 48.6 49.1 47.6 47.8 45.1 46.5 43.1 43.9
White women 38.7 37.2 38.9 38.6 35.2 38.5 37.6 40.3 37.2 41.0 41.5
Minority men* 4.8 5.1 4.9 5.3 7.1 5.5 6.7 6.6 7.2 6.9 6.0
Minority women* 6.0 4.9 6.2 7.5 8.6 8.4 7.9 8.0 9.1 9.0 8.6
# of Jobs Taken** 1,332 1,280 1,229 1,248 1,261 1,246 1,250 1,293 1,337 1,335 1,331
State Judicial Clerks:
White men 45.1 44.1 42.6 44.6 43.9 41.8 39.6 40.2 42.2 39.0 39.7
White women 45.4 44.6 46.1 43.0 43.6 44.7 47.0 44.8 43.8 44.7 42.7
Minority men* 4.2 4.6 4.6 4.8 4.5 5.0 4.5 5.9 5.3 5.7 5.8
Minority women* 5.3 6.7 6.7 7.6 8.0 8.5 8.9 9.1 8.7 10.6 11.7
# of Jobs Taken** 1,383 1,472 1,461 1,543 1,653 1,709 1,699 1,858 1,772 1,727 1,767

Source: NALP employment data for the classes of 1991-2001.

*Includes Native Americans, Blacks, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics of any race.

**Jobs with complete demographic information only.

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