NALP reports an 88.3% employment rate for the Class of 2009 – for those of whom employment status was known. Page 1 shows 36,046 reported jobs, out of 40,833 responses. Of this figure, only 35,002 responded to whether their job was full or part-time. Who knows? Maybe the 1,044 people who did not respond to this question were too embarrassed to report that they were working 80 hour weeks and pulling in $160K per year, right?!
Look! Solo practitioners make up 1,058 of the law firm jobs – out of the 20,145 who reported being in private practice. This means that such solos made up 5.3 percent of the private practice jobs for this graduating class. Another 6,749 graduates report working in firms of 2-10 lawyers – accounting for 33.5% of the private practice jobs.
On page two of this PDF, scroll down to Job Characteristics by Employer Type. There, we can see that 10.3 percent of all jobs listed – legal and non-legal positions – were reported as Part Time!! On the same chart, it shows that fully 24.9 percent of all jobs were reported as temporary positions!!
Now, head over to Source of Job – also on page 2. It shows that those who returned to their prior job constituted 7.7% of the total jobs for this graduating class. Yes, that law degree REALLY helped these people out, didn’t it?!?! Oh well, at least these people inadvertently helped their law school – and the NALP – reach a higher “job placement” rate! And that is what matters, after all. Referrals accounted for 15.1 percent of jobs reported. See, that is what real networking entails, i.e. taking advantage of one’s personal, business and political connections to land a job.
“For instance, a different survey conducted by NALP found that between 3,200 and 3,700 graduates with jobs in law firms had their start dates deferred beyond December 1, 2009, with many deferred well into 2010.”
Hmmm, for $ome rea$on, NALP counted these people as employed. Well, that makes the stats look nice, but how does allow the attorney to pay his bills and buy food? Also, how many of these were Biglaw deferments? After all, only 8,026 respondents, i.e. 39.84% of those in private practice, reported being hired by firms with 100+ attorneys.
“Separate research conducted by NALP revealed that law schools were very active in trying to mitigate the impact of the recession, with 42% of the law schools reporting that they provided on-campus post-graduate jobs for their students. This helps account for the fact that 3.5% of the jobs reported by the Class of 2009 were characterized as academic, compared to 2.3% for the Class of 2008. Overall, 69% of the academic jobs reported by the Class of 2009 were reported as temporary.” [Emphasis mine]
Check out the following statement made by James Leipold, Executive Shill at NALP, at the 2010 NALP Annual Education Conference:
“Thank you for your note regarding salaries for our law school graduates. The very high salary you note is quite high, but it is what was reported to us.”
Dean Carolyn Jones at the University of Iowa College of Law responded to me, after I emailed her with regard to the reported high salary of $750,000 – for the Class of 2008. Apparently, you can report that you are making $1.2 million and the school will accept that figure as gospel and publish it. I guess they don’t have a duty to investigate such claims.
After looking at these figures, ask yourself what the 88.3% reported employment rate for the law school Class of 2009 REALLY looks like. Looking at these numbers, would YOU encourage or recommend a family member, close friend or co-worker - of modest means - to apply to law school?!