Employment Trends, 1985-2001

NALP Bulletin, June 2002

The table below shows employment trends for new law graduates for the 17-year period from 1985 to 2001. It is important to note that new job classifications, effective with the Class of 2001, permit a more precise tracking of the extent to which law graduates are using their law degree in ways other than the practice of law in the traditional sense. However, because of these changes, exact comparisons with prior years are not available for all trends.

Employment Trends, 1985-2001

Year

OF THOSE FOR WHOM EMPLOYMENT STATUS WAS KNOWN

% of Jobs in Law Firms

% of Law Firm Jobs in Firms of 2-10

% Employed

% Employed Legal Full-time

% Employed Legal Part-time

% Employed Other Full-time

% Employed Other Part-time

% Not Working

% Pursuing Advanced Degree

1985

91.5

81.6

2.6

6.7

0.8

7.0

1.5

60.6

35.7

1986

91.3

81.8

2.5

6.2

0.8

7.2

1.5

62.3

32.4

1987

92.2

84.1

2.0

5.6

0.5

6.6

1.2

63.5

31.6

1988

92.0

84.5

2.0

4.9

0.5

6.9

1.1

64.3

28.6

1989

90.8

82.7

2.2

5.2

0.5

7.9

1.3

62.4

24.6

1990

90.3

82.1

2.4

5.2

0.7

8.2

1.4

62.9

28.7

1991

85.9

76.1

3.3

5.6

0.9

12.6

1.5

60.8

33.1

1992

83.5

72.5

4.0

5.9

1.1

14.5

1.9

59.0

38.0

1993

83.4

70.3

4.6

7.0

1.5

14.6

2.0

57.1

41.5

1994

84.7

69.6

5.2

8.1

1.8

13.1

2.2

55.0

41.0

1995

86.7

70.7

5.4

9.0

1.6

11.2

2.1

56.1

40.9

1996

87.4

71.4

4.7

9.7

1.6

10.5

2.1

55.7

39.3

1997

89.2

73.6

4.4

9.9

1.5

8.6

2.2

55.6

36.4

1998

89.9

74.9

3.7

10.0

1.4

7.9

2.2

55.0

33.5

1999

90.3

75.5

2.9

9.8

1.1

7.8

1.9

55.1

31.4

2000

91.5

77.3

2.5

9.6

1.0

6.4

2.1

54.8

30.2


% Bar Passage Required

% JD Preferred

% Other Professional

% Non-Professional


2001

90.0

75.9

6.0

5.5

1.5

7.6

2.4

57.8

29.9

Note: Overall employment rates for 1990-1998 are based on all graduates for whom employment status was known, excluding a small number of graduates known to be employed but for whom basic job type was not known. Overall rates for prior years and for 1999 and 2000 include such graduates. Percentages for specific job types for all years except 1999 and 2000 exclude graduates known to be employed but for whom basic job type was not known. Thus these percentages for individual job types do not add to the overall employment rate for 1985-89. Graduates known to be employed, but for whom specific job type was not reported, are reflected in all the percentages for 1999 and later because of the relatively high number of such graduates — about 1% of those for whom employment status was known. Also, in 1985 and 1986, multiple jobs held by one person were reported separately; hence legal and other employment percentages for these years reflect positions taken rather than individuals and cannot be added to obtain the overall employment rate. The percentage not working includes graduates both seeking and not seeking employment. In order to provide consistent trend data, figures for the percent of law firm jobs in firms of 2-10 are calculated using a base that excludes law firm jobs for which firm size was not reported. New job classifications effective with the Class of 2001 preclude direct comparison of job types with prior years.

Source: NALP Employment Report and Salary Survey data.

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