Jobs in Business and Industry - Two Decades of Change

NALP Bulletin, November 2013

Over the past 20 years the percentage of employed law school graduates taking jobs in business and industry has doubled, with the doubling point reached in the two most recent years. In the same time period, the number of employed law school graduates taking jobs in business and industry has about tripled, again reaching the tripling point in the two most recent years. As the bar chart accompanying this article shows, the percentage of jobs in business and industry climbed steadily through much of the 1990s, then dropped somewhat in the next few years before a decade-long pattern of mostly sustained growth, with a small decline in both percentages and numbers of jobs in 2008 and 2009. (It should be noted that both the number of graduates and the percentage for whom employment status was known have increased in the past 20 years. However, the broad contours of the trend remain, and it is clear that the trend line is up, as shown by the additional chart on the number of jobs reported in business and industry from 1992-2012.)

Over the past two decades, the kinds of employers tracked within business have changed somewhat, precluding comprehensive trends for all. For those employer types that have been tracked consistently, the banking and finance category has experienced the greatest net growth over the period. Among more recently tracked categories, jobs in technology/e-commerce companies have increased steadily, while the number of jobs in legal temp agencies has fluctuated over the past six years. (See the table on selected trends.)

Although other kinds of employers within business are tracked, such as publishing, management consulting, and entertainment/sports management, it remains the case that about half of the jobs in business and industry are with "other" kinds of employers not specifically tracked. This encompasses a wide range of businesses, such as all manner of positions in retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals, to name but a few kinds of employers.

Finally, the growth of business jobs that are categorized as JD Advantage (JD Preferred prior to 2011) is evident. The percentage of jobs for which bar passage is required has drifted up and down. Prior to 2001, jobs were classified as legal, other professional, and nonprofessional, so direct comparisons with 2001 and later years are not possible. During the 1992-2000 time period, about 40% of business jobs were reported as legal. It is likely that some portion of these jobs were closer to the JD Advantage categorization than to jobs for which bar passage in addition to a JD degree were required.






Jobs in Business and Industry — Selected Trends, 1992-2012

Year Total # of Jobs
in Business/Industry
% Bar Passage Required % JD Advantage # OF JOBS IN SELECTED
EMPLOYER TYPES
Accounting Banking/
Finance
Insurance Technology/
E-commerce
Legal Temp Agencies
1992 2,263 NC NC 258 221 238 NC NC
1993 2,689 NC NC 271 302 253 NC NC
1994 3,241 NC NC 278 315 279 NC NC
1995 3,760 NC NC 393 376 312 NC NC
1996 4,149 NC NC 416 445 349 NC NC
1997 4,413 NC NC 507 476 338 NC NC
1998 4,388 NC NC 575 482 317 NC NC
1999 4,247 NC NC 557 453 278 NC NC
2000 3,977 NC NC 422 381 224 NC NC
2001 3,515 29.3 23.6 360 282 215 181 NC
2002 3,349 27.8 23.8 199 275 207 199 NC
2003 3,671 26.9 26.2 161 256 247 192 NC
2004 3,928 30.7 27.9 170 316 245 196 NC
2005 4,666 32.0 29.5 216 391 258 243 NC
2006 5,160 34.2 29.7 298 499 278 339 559
2007 5,223 34.2 29.8 298 536 214 318 636
2008 4,887 32.9 30.1 276 467 228 358 558
2009 4,861 28.9 28.7 192 434 230 356 418
2010 5,446 31.8 29.2 204 548 236 432 452
2011 6,442 29.8 37.2 246 654 256 544 701
2012 6,701 29.1 39.2 312 852 289 578 550


Note: All information above based on NALP’s Employment Report and Salary Surveys for 1992-2012.

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