What We Know About JD Advantage Jobs - An Update

NALP Bulletin, May 2019

In anticipation of NALP's upcoming Summit on Emerging Careers for Law Grads, this column takes a look at recent changes in the mix of jobs taken by law school graduates for the last half dozen years for which data are available, as well as a more detailed look at JD Advantage jobs taken by the Class of 2017. Key findings are:

  • Although the percentage of jobs taken by law school graduates that are JD Advantage has come down from rates of about 17% of jobs from 2014-2016, the 13.9% figure for the Class of 2017 still far exceeds rates of about 10% in the 2006-2008 period. The recent decline is also reflected in the government and public interest sectors, whereas in business the share of jobs that are JD Advantage has stood at about half in recent years. (Table 1 and Table 2.)

  • The vast majority of JD Advantage jobs — 76% — are high-quality jobs in terms of being long-term and full-time. The percentage is even higher for JD Advantage jobs in business and government. (Table 3.)

Additional findings, with a focus on JD Advantage jobs in business, a sector which has typically accounted for 45-50% of the JD Advantage jobs taken by law school graduates over the past decade, are presented in Tables 4-6.

  • By far the largest share of JD Advantage jobs — 42% — are full-time, long-term jobs in business. This share is three to four times larger than the next two categories: full-time, long term jobs in government, and full-time, long-term jobs in private practice. (Table 4.)

  • Looking at specific job types for JD Advantage jobs in business, almost 18% are compliance jobs. An additional 11% are consulting jobs. A small, but measurable portion of the jobs are tax associate positions. By employment setting in business, the largest is banking/finance (and this is also the employment setting for about 40% of the compliance jobs), followed by any type of technology company — law-related or not — and accounting firms. (Table 5 and Table 6.)

A previous column on this topic was published in November of 2017: What Do We Know About JD Advantage Jobs?

Table 1. JD Advantage Jobs: 2012-2017

 
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
% of graduates for whom employment status was known who took JD Advantage jobs 13.3% 13.8% 14.8% 14.5% 14.8% 12.3%
Total # of jobs taken 37,538 37,730 36,350 33,469 31,354 30,104
Total # of JD Advantage jobs taken 5,877 6,154 6,228 5,592 5,311 4,193
% of jobs that are JD Advantage 15.7% 16.3% 17.0% 16.7% 16.9% 13.9%
# of JD Advantage jobs taken in business 2,628 2,936 3,118 2,816 2,537 2,075


Table 2. Percentage of All Jobs that Are Bar Passage Required (BPR) versus JD Advantage (JDA) by Sector: 2012-2017

  Law School Graduating Class of:
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
All Jobs
     % of jobs that are BPR 76.3% 76.3% 76.5% 77.0% 77.4% 81.0%
     % of jobs that are JDA 15.7 16.3 17.1 16.7 16.9 13.9
Education
     % of jobs that are BPR 17.9 19.1 20.8 15.0 14.4 17.1
     % of jobs that are JDA 49.0 54.8 50.4 49.2 47.4 53.3
Business
     % of jobs that are BPR 29.2 28.4 27.3 26.1 24.0 26.5
     % of jobs that are JDA 39.3 42.4 47.4 48.9 51.9 49.7
Private Practice
     % of jobs that are BPR 93.2 93.2 93.1 92.7 91.8 94.3
     % of jobs that are JDA 6.2 6.3 6.6 6.7 7.7 5.2
Government
     % of jobs that are BPR 71.0 71.8 71.9 72.8 72.4 74.8
     % of jobs that are JDA 22.8 21.6 22.3 21.1 21.7 18.9
Public Interest
     % of jobs that are BPR 76.9 77.4 77.5 77.9 78.7 82.6
     % of jobs that are JDA 18.4 18.9 18.0 17.7 17.5 14.7


Table 3. Characteristics of JD Advantage Jobs by Employer Setting — Class of 2017

  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 75.8% 8.3% 8.5% 7.4%
JD Advantage jobs in business 85.0 4.5 7.4 3.1
JD Advantage jobs in law firms 53.8 21.7 9.1 15.4
JD Advantage jobs in government 83.3 4.5 9.2 2.9
JD Advantage jobs in public interest 67.8 7.3 12.3 12.6
JD Advantage jobs in education 64.5 7.3 8.5 19.7


Table 4. Prevalence of JD Advantage Jobs by Job Characteristics and Employment Sector — Class of 2017

The most common settings and job characteristics for JD Advantage Jobs are: And accounted for:
In business and full-time, long-term 42.1% of JD Advantage jobs
In government and full-time, long-term 13.5% of JD Advantage jobs
In private practice and full-time, long-term 10.9% of JD Advantage jobs
In public interest and full-time, long-term 5.1% of JD Advantage jobs
In private practice and part-time, long-term 4.4% of JD Advantage jobs
In education and full-time, long-term 4.0% of JD Advantage jobs
In business and full-time, short-term 3.6% of JD Advantage jobs

Note: Percentages are based on all JD Advantage jobs reported for the Class of 2017. However, not all possible combinations are shown in the table above, and thus percentages do not add to 100%. The combinations shown above each accounted for at least 150 jobs and together accounted for 84% of all JD Advantage jobs.


Table 5. Top Job Types for JD Advantage Jobs in Business

Type of Business Job # of Jobs % of All JD Advantage Jobs in Business
Compliance 363 17.5%
Consulting 223 10.7
Management 171 8.2
Law clerk or Paralegal 123 5.9
Tax associate 111 5.3
Business development/Marketing 100 4.8

Note: Percentages are based on all JD Advantage jobs taken in business reported for the Class of 2017, a total of 2,075 jobs. The category of "other" job in business accounts for the largest share of JD Advantage jobs in business, at 39%, and is not shown above. Other categories shown above each accounted for at least 100 jobs.


Table 6. Top Employment Sectors for JD Advantage Jobs in Business

Kind of Business Employer # of Jobs % of All JD Advantage Jobs in Business
Banking/Finance 359 17.3%
Technology/Legal Technology 212 10.2
Accounting 157 7.6
Healthcare 128 6.2
Real Estate 109 5.3
Management Consulting 102 4.9

Note: Percentages are based on all JD Advantage jobs taken in business reported for the Class of 2017, a total of 2,075 jobs. The category of "other" employment sector in business accounts for the largest share of JD Advantage jobs in business, at 29%, and is not shown above. Categories shown above each accounted for at least 100 jobs.

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