Law Firm Jobs Taken by New Law Graduates - Class of 2005

NALP Bulletin, January 2007 

According to NALP’s employment information for the Class of 2005, more than half (55.8%) of employed graduates took jobs in law firms, and of those jobs, almost half were taken in the 20 cities providing the most jobs to this class. However, as Tables 1 and 2 show, among graduates taking jobs in law firms, racial/ethnic minorities as a whole (Black/African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and multi-racial graduates), and in particular Asian/Pacific Islander and Black/African American graduates, were more likely to take a job in one of those cities than were non-minorities.

Within these 20 cities, Table 2 shows that the proportion of law firm jobs taken by minorities ranged from a high of almost half in Miami, to a low of 11% in Pittsburgh and Cleveland. In some cities, one specific group dominated the minority graduates. In Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle, it was Asian/Pacific Islanders; in Miami it was Hispanics; and in Atlanta it was Black/African-American graduates. In Washington, DC, Asian/Pacific Islanders and Black/African-Americans were equally prevalent. In San Diego, Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic graduates took law firm jobs in about the same proportions. In other cities, such as Dallas and Houston, the mix was relatively more even.

TABLE 1. Geographic Distribution of Law Firm Jobs Taken by the Class of 2005

Law Firm Jobs Taken by: % in 20 Largest Cities % in Other Locations # of Jobs
All graduates 52.4% 47.6% 19,292
Non-minorities 44.0 55.0 14,330
All minorities* 56.4 43.6 3,215
Native Americans 26.2 73.8 84
Asian/Pacific Islanders 63.8 36.3 1,316
Black/African-Americans 56.4 43.6 811
Hispanics 50.3 49.7 888
Multi-racial 44.0 56.0 116

* Defined as racial minorities as well as Hispanics.

Note: All counts exclude law firm jobs for which location was not reported. Also, all counts, except the overall count, exclude law firm jobs taken by graduates for whom race/ethnicity was not reported. The Asian/Pacific Islander category includes East Indian/Pakistani graduates.

Table 2. Distribution of Law Firm Jobs by Race/Ethnicity in 20 Cities Class of 2005

City Native American Asian/Pacific Islander Black/African-American Hispanic Multi-racial Caucasian # of Jobs
Atlanta 0.20% 3.95% 12.25% 2.96% 0.59% 80.04% 506
Boston 0.00 6.91 3.97 3.53 0.74 84.85 680
Chicago 0.35 8.17 7.69 3.67 0.90 79.22 1,444
Cleveland 0.36 3.99 4.71 1.81 0.36 88.77 276
Columbus 0.00 2.78 7.99 2.08 0.35 86.81 288
Dallas 0.95 6.15 4.26 5.44 0.00 83.22 423
Houston 0.39 7.34 7.86 7.21 0.39 76.80 763
Indianapolis 0.00 2.77 6.72 2.77 0.79 86.96 253
Los Angeles 0.34 20.96 6.17 7.85 0.22 64.46 892
Miami 0.00 4.04 9.97 31.54 1.08 53.37 371
Minneapolis/St. Paul 0.75 6.53 2.26 2.51 0.50 87.44 398
New York City 0.04 13.31 6.99 5.64 0.44 73.58 2,517
Philadelphia 0.19 6.58 8.46 2.82 1.13 80.83 532
Phoenix 1.61 8.06 2.82 9.68 0.81 77.02 248
Pittsburgh 0.00 3.20 6.76 1.07 0.00 88.97 281
Sacramento 0.48 12.50 2.88 7.69 0.00 76.44 208
San Diego 0.47 13.79 2.57 10.28 0.00 72.90 428
San Francisco 0.42 18.92 3.74 5.61 2.91 68.40 481
Seattle 0.27 11.44 4.79 3.99 1.33 78.19 376
Washington, DC 0.63 10.87 10.47 3.74 0.63 73.66 1,739

Note: Law firm jobs taken by graduates for whom race/ethnicity was not reported are excluded from this table. The Asian/Pacific Islander category includes East Indian/Pakistani graduates.

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