What We Know About JD Advantage Jobs — An Update for the Class of 2018

NALP Bulletin, March 2020

In a November 2017 NALP Bulletin column, my colleague, Judith N. Collins, provided the first in-depth analysis specifically on the topic of JD Advantage jobs based upon NALP's graduate employment data. This column marks the third year in which NALP has explored these data and provides new information and highlights from the Class of 2018.

Key overall findings include:

  • The percentage of jobs taken by law school graduates which are JD Advantage almost doubled in the 10-year period from 2006-2016, increasing from 8.8% of jobs in 2006 to 16.9% of jobs in 2016. However, this percentage has since declined to 13.9% for the Class of 2018. The recent decline is also reflected in the government and public interest sectors, while in business the share of jobs that are JD Advantage has actually been increasing in recent years and now make up the majority of jobs in this sector. (See Tables 1 and 2.)

  • The differential in median starting salaries for JD Advantage jobs in comparison to all jobs has narrowed in recent years, dropping from a $12,000 gap in 2008 to a difference ranging from $3,000- $5,000 during the period since 2012. However, the disparity in average starting salaries between the two groups has remained relatively stable during this same period. (See Chart 1 and Table 3.)

  • The vast majority of JD Advantage jobs for the Class of 2018 — nearly 77% — are high-quality jobs in terms of being both long-term and full-time, an increase of approximately 1 percentage point compared to the Class of 2017 and 2 percentage points compared to the Class of 2016. The percentage of long-term, full-time jobs is even higher for JD Advantage jobs in business and government. (See Table 4.)

Additional findings focused on JD Advantage jobs in business, a sector which has typically accounted for 45-50 percent of the JD Advantage jobs taken by law school graduates over the past 12 years, are presented in Tables 5-7.

  • By far the largest share of JD Advantage jobs — 40% — are full-time, long-term jobs in business, down slightly from 42% for the Class of 2017. This share is about three times larger than each of the next two categories: full-time, long term jobs in private practice and full-time, long-term jobs in government. (See Table 5.)

  • Looking at specific job types for JD Advantage jobs in business, nearly one-sixth (16.0%) are compliance jobs. An additional 10.2% are consulting jobs. (See Table 6.)

  • By employment setting for JD Advantage jobs in business, the largest is banking/finance, accounting for about one in seven jobs. It is also the employment setting for over one-third of the compliance jobs. Banking/finance is followed by technology companies of any type — law-related or not — (11.5%), and accounting firms (9.3%). The percentage of JD Advantage business jobs within technology companies has been trending upward in recent years and has increased by nearly 3 percentage points since the Class of 2016. (See Table 7.)


Table 1. JD Advantage Jobs, 2006 - 2018

  Law School Graduating Class of:
2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018
% of Graduates for Whom Employment Status was Known Taking JD Advantage Jobs 7.9% 8.1% 10.7% 13.3% 14.8% 14.8% 12.5%
Total # of Jobs Taken 36,465 36,497 36,043 37,538 36,350 31,354 29,953
Total # of JD Advantage Jobs Taken 3,194 3,277 4,387 5,877 6,228 5,311 4,178
% of Jobs that are JD Advantage 8.8% 9.0% 12.2% 15.7% 17.0% 16.9% 13.9%
# of JD Advantage Jobs Taken in Business 1,531 1,473 1,591 2,628 3,118 2,537 2,020

Note: For the years 2006-2010, JD Advantage jobs were referred to as JD Preferred. The category was renamed as JD Advantage starting with the Class of 2011.


Table 2. Percentage of All Jobs that are Bar Passage Required (BPR) versus JD Advantage (JDA) by Sector, 2006 - 2018

  Law School Graduating Class of:
2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018
All Jobs
 % of Jobs that are BPR 84.0% 83.9% 79.1% 76.3% 76.5% 77.4% 81.5%
 % of Jobs that are JDA 8.9 9.1 12.3 15.7 17.1 16.9 13.9
Education
 % of Jobs that are BPR 16.4 20.6 33.3 17.9 20.8 14.4 17.4
 % of Jobs that are JDA 40.8 44.3 39.7 49.0 50.4 47.4 52.2
Business
 % of Jobs that are BPR 34.8 33.3 32.2 29.2 27.3 24.0 25.5
 % of Jobs that are JDA 30.1 30.5 29.6 39.3 47.4 51.9 52.1
Private Practice
 % of Jobs that are BPR 96.2 96.9 94.3 93.2 93.1 91.8 94.1
 % of Jobs that are JDA 3.4 2.8 5.2 6.2 6.6 7.7 5.6
Government
 % of Jobs that are BPR 81.4 80.4 74.3 71.0 71.9 72.4 76.1
 % of Jobs that are JDA 11.5 12.6 17.9 22.8 22.3 21.7 18.0
Public Interest
 % of Jobs that are BPR 85.9 81.7 76.1 76.9 77.5 78.7 81.6
 % of Jobs that are JDA 10.0 13.6 18.1 18.4 18.0 17.5 15.3

Note: For the years 2006-2010, JD Advantage jobs were referred to as JD Preferred. The category was renamed as JD Advantage starting with the Class of 2011.



Table 3. Median and Average Starting Salaries for JD Advantage Jobs in Comparison to All Jobs, 2006 - 2018

  Law School Graduating Class of:
All Jobs - Median Salary ($) $62,000 $72,000 $63,000 $61,000 $63,000 $65,000 $70,000
JD Advantage Jobs – Median Salary ($) $55,000 $60,000 $52,000 $57,000 $60,000 $60,000 $65,000
All Jobs – Average Salary ($) $78,000 $92,000 $84,000 $81,000 $82,000 $90,500 $98,000
JD Advantage Jobs – Average Salary ($) $62,000 $65,500 $60,000 $64,500 $66,000 $70,000 $76,500

Note: Mean and median salaries are rounded to the nearest $500.


Table 4. Characteristics of JD Advantage Jobs by Employer Setting - Class of 2018

  Percent of JD Advantage Jobs in Each Sector Which Were:
Full-Time and Long-Term Part-Time and Long-Term Full-Time and Short-Term Part-Time and Short-Term
All JD Advantage Jobs 76.5% 8.5% 8.4% 6.5%
JD Advantage Jobs in Business 83.0 4.8 8.7 3.5
JD Advantage Jobs in Law Firms 61.1 20.7 7.2 10.9
JD Advantage Jobs in Government 86.0 3.4 6.7 3.9
JD Advantage Jobs in Public Interest 72.0 5.6 12.1 10.3
JD Advantage Jobs in Education 63.0 10.6 9.8 16.7

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because one or both job characteristics were not reported for a few jobs.


Table 5. Prevalence of JD Advantage Jobs by Job Characteristics and Employment Sector - Class of 2018

The Most Common Settings and Job Characteristics for JD Advantage Jobs Are: And Accounted For:
In Business and Full-Time, Long-Term

40.1% of JD Advantage Jobs
In Private Practice and Full-Time, Long-Term

13.4% of JD Advantage Jobs
In Government and Full-Time, Long-Term

13.3% of JD Advantage Jobs
In Public Interest and Full-Time, Long-Term

5.8% of JD Advantage Jobs
In Private Practice and Part-Time, Long-Term 4.5% of JD Advantage Jobs
In Business and Full-Time, Short-Term 4.2% of JD Advantage Jobs

Note: Percentages are based on all JD Advantage jobs reported for the Class of 2018; however, not all possible combinations are shown in the table above, thus percentages do not add up to 100%. The combinations shown above each accounted for at least 175 jobs and together accounted for 81.3% of all JD Advantage jobs.


Table 6. Top Job Types for JD Advantage Jobs in Business - Class of 2018

Type of Business Job # of Jobs % of All JD Advantage Jobs in Business
Compliance 323 16.0%
Consulting 206 10.2
Management 159 7.9
Law Clerk or Paralegal 150 7.4
Tax Associate 132 6.5
Business Development/Marketing 86 4.3

Note: Percentages are based on all JD Advantage jobs taken in business reported for the Class of 2018, a total of 2,020 jobs. The category of "Other" job in business accounts for the largest share of JD Advantage jobs in business, at 38.3%, and is not shown above. Other categories shown above each accounted for at least 75 jobs.


Table 7. Top Employment Sectors for JD Advantage Jobs in Business - Class of 2018

Kind of Business Employer # of Jobs % of All JD Advantage Jobs in Business
Banking/Finance 294 14.6%
Technology/Legal Technology 233 11.5
Accounting 187 9.3
Healthcare 152 7.5
Legal Temp Agency 105 5.2
Management Consulting 103 5.1
Real Estate 93 4.6
Insurance 77 3.8

Note: Percentages are based on all JD Advantage jobs taken in business reported for the Class of 2018, a total of 2,020 jobs. The category of "Other" employment sector in business accounts for the largest share of JD Advantage jobs in business, at 26.9%, and is not shown above. Categories shown above each accounted for at least 75 jobs.

National Association for Law Placement, Inc.® (NALP®)
1220 19th Street NW, Suite 401, Washington, DC 20036-2405
(202) 835-1001 info@nalp.org
© Copyright 2020 NALP

STAY CONNECTED



View Full Site