What Do We Know About JD Advantage Jobs?

NALP Bulletin, November 2017

At NALP's inaugural Summit on Emerging Careers for Law Grads in early October, summit attendees were provided with an in-depth look at JD Advantage jobs, based on a deep dive into NALP's graduate employment data, and most of which has not been previously published. This column highlights just a portion of the findings presented at the summit. Two key findings are:

  • The percentage of jobs taken by law school graduates which are JD Advantage has almost doubled in ten years, from 8.8% of jobs in 2006 to 16.9% of jobs in 2016. This is despite the fact that the number of JD Advantage jobs has declined, as have the total number of jobs and graduates. (Table 1.)

  • The vast majority of JD Advantage jobs — 75% — 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 2.)

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 10 years, are presented in Tables 3-5.

  • By far the largest share of JD Advantage jobs — 39% — are full-time, long-term jobs in business. This share is roughly three times larger than the next two categories: full-time, long term jobs in private practice, and full-time, long-term jobs in government. (Table 3.)

  • Looking at specific job types for JD Advantage jobs in business, nearly one-fifth (18.4%) are compliance jobs. An additional 10% 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 one-third of the compliance jobs), followed by accounting firms and any type of technology company — law-related or not.

A complete handout from the summit presentation with many more findings can be found at www.nalp.org/uploads/Emerging/Leipold_JDAJobs.pdf. A webinar presented on October 11, and covering the same material is available at www.nalp.org/events.


Table 1. JD Advantage Jobs: 2006-2016

  Law School Graduating Class of:
2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016
% of graduates for whom employment status was known taking JD Advantage jobs 7.9% 8.1% 10.7% 13.3% 14.8% 14.8%
Total # of jobs taken 36,465 36,497 36,043 37,538 36,350 31,354
Total # of JD Advantage jobs taken 3,194 3,277 4,387 5,877 6,228 5,311
% of jobs that are JD Advantage 8.8%/td> 9.0% 12.2% 15.7% 17.0% 16.9%
# of JD Advantage jobs taken in business 1,531 1,473 1,591 2,628 3,118 2,537

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


Table 2. Characteristics of JD Advantage Jobs by Employer Setting-Class of 2016

  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 74.6% 7.8% 9.8% 7.8%
JD Advantage Jobs in Business 81.8 4.1 10.5 3.5
JD Advantage Jobs in Law Firms 58.3 18.7 8.6 14.2
JD Advantage Jobs in Government 82.3 4.8 8.7 4.1
JD Advantage Jobs in Public Interest 72.0 5.8 10.6 11.6
JD Advantage Jobs in Education 63.9 2.5 10.5 23.1

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


Table 3. Prevalence of JD Advantage Jobs by Job Characteristics and Employment Sector

The most common settings and job characteristics for JD Advantage Jobs Are: And accounted for:
In business and full-time, long-term 39.1% of JD Advantage Jobs
In private practice and full-time, long-term 14.1% of JD Advantage Jobs
In government and full-time, long-term 12.8% of JD Advantage Jobs
In public interest and full-time, long-term 5.1% of JD Advantage Jobs
In business and full-time, short-term 5.0% of JD Advantage Jobs
In private practice and part-time, long-term 4.5% of JD Advantage Jobs

Note: Percentages are based on all JD Advantage jobs reported for the Class of 2016. However, not all possible combinations are shown in the table above, thus percentages do not add to 100%. The combinations shown above each accounted for at least 200 jobs and together accounted 80.6% of all JD Advantage jobs.


Table 4. Top Job Types for JD Advantage Jobs in Business

Type of Business Job # of Jobs % of All JD Advantage Jobs in Business
Compliance 468 18.4%
Consulting 262 10.3
Management 210 8.3
Tax Associate 166 6.5
Law Clerk or Paralegal 163 6.4
Business Development/Marketing 108 4.3

Note: Percentages are based on all JD Advantage jobs taken in business reported for the Class of 2016, a total of 2,537 jobs. The category of "other" job in business accounts for the largest share of JD Advantage jobs in business, at 37%, and is not shown above. Other categories shown above each accounted for at least 100 jobs.


Table 5. Top Employment Sectors for JD Advantage Jobs in Business

Kind of Business Employer # of Jobs % of All JD Advantage Jobs in Business
Banking/Finance 382 15.1%
Accounting 238 9.4
Technology/Legal Technology 223 8.8
Legal Temp Agency 175 6.9
Healthcare 165 6.5
Management Consulting 126 5.0
Insurance 107 4.2

Note: Percentages are based on all JD Advantage jobs taken in business reported for the Class of 2016, a total of 2,537 jobs. The category of "other" employment sector in business accounts for the largest share of JD Advantage jobs in business, at 36%, and is not shown above. Categories shown above each accounted for at least 100 jobs.

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