New Findings on Employment Outcomes for Graduates Who Were Transfer Students

NALP Bulletin, January 2019

Law school graduates from the Class of 2017 who were transfer students were more likely to be employed as of March 15, 2018, compared to the class as a whole — and to have obtained a job in a large law firm. These are the bottom-line findings based on information on graduate transfer status collected for the first time for the Class of 2017.

The overall employment rate for graduates who were transfer students was 90.1% of the approximately 1,400 such graduates for whom employment status was known. This compares with 88.6% for the class as a whole. More notable, for graduates who were transfer students, the rates of employment in bar passage required/anticipated jobs and in private practice exceeded those of the class as a whole by about 5 percentage points. For example, among employed graduates as a whole, 54.4% obtained a job in private practice. For graduates who were transfer students, the figure was 59.6%. (See Table 1.)

It is also evident that the private practice employment of graduates who were transfer students is more likely to be in large firms of more than 500 attorneys compared to graduates as a whole taking jobs in private practice — 36.7% and 28.1% of private practice jobs, respectively. It follows that the median private practice salary for graduates who were transfer students exceeds the overall private practice median by more than $30,000. A salary differential is not necessarily evident in other sectors.

Table 1. Employment Outcomes for Graduates Who Were Transfer Students Compared with the Class as a Whole - Class of 2017

  Graduates Who Were Transfer Students Class as a Whole
Employment Status*
Employed 90.1% 88.6%
  Job is Bar Passage Required/Anticipated 76.4 71.8
  Job is JD Advantage 11.7 12.3
# of Graduates for Whom Employment Status Was Known 1,415 33,966
Employment Sector**
  Private Practice 59.6% 54.4%
  Business 12.4 13.9
  Government 11.1 12.0
  Clerkships 9.2 10.7
  Public Interest 6.2 7.2
  Education 1.2 1.6
# of Employed Graduates 1,283 30,104

* Figures are based on graduates for whom employment status was known.
** Figures are based on employed graduates.


Table 2. Private Practice Employment for Graduates Who Were Transfer Students Compared with the Class as a Whole - Class of 2017

  Employment in Law Firms by Size of Firm
Size of Firm (# of attorneys) Graduates Who Were Transfer Students Class as a Whole
Graduate Is Solo Practitioner 1.8% 2.5%
1-10* 32.2 35.3
11-25 9.8 10.4
26-50 5.0 6.1
51-100 4.4 4.9
101-250 4.6 5.9
251-500 5.6 6.2
501+ 36.7 28.1
Firm Size Unknown 0.4 0.7
# of Private Practice Jobs 765 16,390

* Includes graduates working for a solo practitioner.


Table 3. Median Starting Salaries for Graduates Who Were Transfer Students Compared with the Class as a Whole - Class of 2017

  Graduates Who Were Transfer Students Class as a Whole
By Kind of Job
  All Jobs $76,000 $70,000
  Bar Passage Required/Anticipated 80,000 70,000
  JD Advantage 65,000 65,000
  Other Professional 52,500 65,000
Employment Sector
  Private Practice $150,000 $117,000
  Business 67,800 75,000
  Government 59,000 60,000
  Clerkships 53,810 56,750
  Public Interest 50,400 50,000
  Education 55,000 50,000

Note: All salary figures are based on salaries reported for full-time jobs lasting at least a year. A total of 19,719 salaries were reported. For graduates who were transfer students, 875 salaries were reported.

National Association for Law Placement, Inc.® (NALP®), 1220 19th Street NW, Suite 401, Washington, DC 20036-2405, (202) 835-1001 info@nalp.org, © Copyright 2019 NALP

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