Detailed Analysis of JD Advantage Jobs (April 2013) — Starting with the law school Class of 2011, a new term of art entered our lexicon — "JD Advantage." It is a phrase that NALP and the ABA use to describe a category of jobs for which bar passage is not required but for which a JD degree provides a distinct advantage. Nearly one in seven jobs taken by the Class of 2011 was reported as a JD Advantage job. In numbers this translates to more than 5,200 jobs. These jobs were most common by far in the business realm, which accounted for 46% of the JD Advantage jobs obtained by the Class of 2011.
Starting Salaries — Class of 2011 (January 2013) — This information is being made available for prospective law school applicants and others interested in the starting salaries of new law school graduates.
Median Reported Salaries — Class of 2011 (maps) (January 2013)
Trends in Median Reported Salaries — Class of 2011 (January 2013)
Buying Power Index for Class of 2011 (January 2013) — The relative buying power of the dollar in any two cities is very important when comparing the nominal dollar amounts of the salaries in those two cities. Those interested in this topic might, for example, ask about the "buying power" of a salary of $160,000 in Boston compared to a similar nominal salary in San Francisco. The question becomes, "Which location offers the most buying power?" The answer, and the dollars that accompany it, often translates into discretionary income and lifestyle options for new attorneys.
Bridge-to-Practice Program Survey Findings (November 2012) — In order to measure the prevalence of law school bridge-to-practice programs and to document their structures and policies, NALP conducted a survey in fall 2012 and has now compiled the survey results. A total of 84 schools responded to the survey, representing all U.S. NALP regions, a range of sizes, and both public and private schools. Of these, 46, or 55%, reported having a bridge-to-practice program, defined for purposes of this survey as a program to provide recent law school graduates with an opportunity to develop and enhance their practical legal skills as they transition into the practice of law, generally by providing law school funding of some sort for a period of post-graduate work for a third party (e.g., public interest organization, government agency, member of the judiciary, or a private employer). This report includes findings on when programs were established, the typical duration of fellowships, monthly stipends, sources of funding, and funding levels.
Grant-Funded Positions and Job Start Dates for the Class of 2011 (NALP Bulletin, November 2012) — New information was collected for the Class of 2011 to determine if jobs of fixed duration — either short-term (less than a year) or long-term (a year or more but of a fixed duration, e.g., one or two years) — were funded by graduates' own law schools or by grants from outside organizations.
Legal Services Jobs - Are They Up or Down? (NALP Bulletin, October 2012) — It turns out the answer to this question is not straightforward. Members of the Class of 2011 reported taking 732 jobs in legal services, down slightly from the 839 jobs reported for the Class of 2010, but up dramatically from numbers reported a decade ago.
New Research on Law School Funded Positions for Law School Graduates (NALP Bulletin, September 2012) — New information collected as part of the graduate employment survey for the Class of 2011 reveals that more than 1,700 jobs taken by that class were funded by the graduate’s law school through a variety of bridge fellowship programs, grants, and other programs. As noted in the Selected Findings for the Class of 2011, such jobs accounted for almost 5% of the jobs taken by this class, and absent such jobs, the overall employment rate for the class would have been about 4 percentage points lower.
Salaries for New Lawyers: An Update on Where We Are and How We Got Here (NALP Bulletin, August 2012) — Starting with the Class of 2006, one of the ways NALP has documented salary information for law school graduating classes is with a picture — a picture which shows very clearly that the salary distribution for law graduates has two distinct peaks, one in the $40,000 to $65,000 range, and one reflecting the big-law salary (or salaries) typical for that year. The full range generally spans from less than $20,000 to over $200,000. Although such a range of salaries is nothing new, the doubled-peaked characteristic was first apparent with the Class of 2000, with the evolution of the double-peaked curve documented in the January 2008 NALP Bulletin. This column reviews that earlier work and updates it to the Class of 2011.
Median Private Practice Starting Salaries for the Class of 2011 Plunge as Private Practice Jobs Continue to Erode (July 12, 2012 Press Release) — The median starting salary for new law school graduates from the Class of 2011 fell 5% from that for 2010 and has fallen nearly 17% just since 2009. The mean salary fell 6.5% compared with 2010, and since 2009 the mean has plunged almost 16%.
The NALP Salary Curve for the Class of 2011
Class of 2011 Has Lowest Employment Rate Since Class of 1994 (NALP Bulletin, July 2012) — The overall employment rate for the Class of 2011 was 85.6% of graduates for whom employment status was known, the lowest rate since 1994, continuing a decline that started in 2008. The employment rate for new law school graduates has fallen more than six percentage points since reaching a 20-year high of 91.9% in 2007.
National Summary Chart for Class of 2011 (PDF)
Selected Findings from Employment Report and Salary Survey for the Class of 2011 (PDF)
Law School Grads Face Worst Job Market Yet — Less Than Half Find Jobs in Private Practice (June 7, 2012 Press Release)