Jobs for New Law Graduates — A Ten-Year Demographic Profile 1991-2000

ABA data on law school graduates show that over the last ten years women have accounted for between 43% and 46% of law school graduates and that minority representation has increased from 11.8% in 1991 to about 19% since 1997.

NALP's employment data for the Classes of 1991-2000 show that the proportion of women and minorities among employed graduates as a whole reflect these changes. However, as the table below shows, proportionate representation does not necessarily occur for specific job/employer categories.

  • In firms of 2-10 attorneys, the proportion of jobs obtained by white men has declined somewhat (from 58.2% to 51.1%), while the proportion of jobs taken by minorities, particularly minority women, has increased. Nonetheless, relative to their numbers among employed graduates, white men continue to obtain a disproportionately large share of these jobs, while minorities obtain a smaller share.

  • In contrast, minorities as a whole have obtained a greater share of jobs in large firms since 1993, while the percentage of jobs taken by white men has decreased from 52.2% in 1992 to 44.5% in 2000, the lowest figure in the ten-year span. The share of jobs taken by white women has also decreased overall since 1991, although the figure hit its low point in 1992 and has been relatively steady in the past five years.

  • Prosecution positions at all levels of government have consistently been a good source of employment for minorities, particularly minority women, and, to a lesser extent and not as consistently, white women.

  • Jobs in the military present a unique demographic profile. In 1991, nearly three-quarters of these jobs were obtained by white men. After dropping to about 57% in 1997 and 1998, this figure climbed to 65.1% in 1999 and 61.6% in 2000. Thus, white men continue to be over-represented among graduates obtaining these jobs. This is true for minority men as well. Conversely, despite an overall gain, women, particularly white women, remain under-represented among those obtaining jobs in the military. The presence of minority women has about doubled overall, but fluctuations are evident.

  • The representation of white men among federal judicial clerks has been either proportional or slightly less than proportional, whereas the opposite is true of white women. Minority men have generally been under-represented, while the representation of minority women has been erratic.

  • The percentage of state judicial clerkships obtained by women has consistently exceeded their representation among employed graduates as a whole by about ten percentage points, whereas white men have been under-represented by about seven percentage points. Minority men are also under-represented, whereas the presence of minority women mirrors that among employed graduates as a whole.

Demographic Profile of Selected Job Types — 1991-2000
(percent of jobs obtained by each demographic group)


Graduating Class

All Jobs

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

White men

52.4

52.8

52.1

50.6

49.9

48.6

47.8

47.2

47.0

45.3

White women

36.6

36.2

35.3

35.1

34.1

35.0

34.5

35.0

35.2

35.6

Minority men*

5.6

5.3

5.9

6.8

7.7

7.8

8.5

8.4

8.3

8.8

Minority women*

5.4

5.7

6.6

7.5

8.3

8.6

9.2

9.5

9.5

10.3

# of Jobs Taken**

24,583

23,815

23,869

25,006

26,455

27,887

28,657

30,194

30,261

29,691

Law Firms of
2-10 Attorneys

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

White men

58.2

57.5

56.7

55.3

55.3

53.8

53.0

51.7

51.5

51.1

White women

34.9

35.5

35.5

35.2

33.8

34.8

34.0

34.8

35.7

35.0

Minority men*

4.0

3.7

3.7

5.0

5.6

5.8

6.5

6.9

6.4

6.6

Minority women*

2.9

3.3

4.1

4.5

5.3

5.5

6.5

6.6

6.4

7.3

# of Jobs Taken**

4,593

4,717

5,000

5,222

5,394

5,405

5,204

5,132

4,790

4,581

Law Firms of
100+ Attorneys

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

White men

49.8

52.2

50.6

49.3

49.5

46.3

45.6

46.9

46.2

44.5

White women

38.3

37.4

34.4

33.9

32.2

34.7

35.0

34.9

34.8

35.4

Minority men*

6.3

5.1

7.5

8.6

9.2

9.3

9.6

9.4

8.5

9.6

Minority women*

5.6

5.3

7.5

8.2

9.1

9.7

9.8

8.9

10.5

10.5

# of Jobs Taken**

4,048

2,905

2,659

3,105

3,300

3,731

4,243

5,352

5,968

6,084


Prosecutors

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

White men

45.2

44.4

47.1

42.4

42.7

44.7

43.7

43.4

42.7

40.4

White women

39.8

37.8

33.6

36.2

35.0

35.6

36.4

36.7

37.7

38.0

Minority men*

6.8

8.4

9.5

10.1

11.6

8.6

8.3

9.1

8.5

9.7

Minority women*

8.2

9.3

9.9

11.4

10.8

11.1

11.6

10.9

11.9

11.9

# of Jobs Taken**

1,087

1,094

1,055

1,100

1,244

1,284

1,488

1,467

1,485

1,485

Jobs in
Military

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

White men

73.6

70.1

66.4

66.0

60.2

61.1

57.3

57.9

65.1

61.6

White women

16.4

18.9

21.6

20.6

23.1

23.9

21.0

23.7

19.4

19.3

Minority men*

6.7

6.8

7.9

9.8

9.4

10.3

14.2

11.0

10.1

12.9

Minority women*

3.3

4.2

4.1

3.5

7.3

4.7

7.5

7.4

5.5

6.2

# of Jobs Taken**

360

355

292

315

329

339

358

337

418

372

Federal
Judicial Clerks

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

White men

50.5

52.8

50.0

48.6

49.1

47.6

47.8

45.1

46.5

43.1

White women

38.7

37.2

38.9

38.6

35.2

38.5

37.6

40.3

37.2

41.0

Minority men*

4.8

5.1

4.9

5.3

7.1

5.5

6.7

6.6

7.2

6.9

Minority women*

3.3

4.2

4.1

3.5

7.3

4.7

7.5

7.4

5.5

6.2

# of Jobs Taken**

1,332

1,280

1,229

1,248

1,261

1,246

1,250

1,293

1,337

1,335

State
Judicial Clerks

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

White men

45.1

44.1

42.6

44.6

43.9

41.8

39.6

40.2

42.2

39.0

White women

45.4

44.6

46.1

43.0

43.6

44.7

47.0

44.8

43.8

44.7

Minority men*

4.2

4.6

4.6

4.8

4.5

5.0

4.5

5.9

5.3

5.7

Minority women*

5.3

6.7

6.7

7.6

8.0

8.5

8.9

9.1

8.7

10.6

# of Jobs Taken**

1,383

1,472

1,461

1,543

1,653

1,709

1,699

1,858

1,772

1,727

*Includes Native Americans, Blacks, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics of any race.
**Jobs with complete demographic information only.
Source: NALP employment data for the classes of 1991-2000.

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