National employment numbers for the Class of 2010

Last week, the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) issued a press release detailing general findings from employment information submitted by 192 U.S. law schools for the Class of 2010.

Four key national observations:

  • The overall employment rate of the Class of 2010 nine months after graduation was 87.6 percent, the lowest since 1996. NALP calculates this employment rate based on graduates whose status is known, counting all types of jobs as employment. If you apply the new US News methodology, which is based on the total number of graduates, the overall nine-month employment rate for the 192 law schools reporting falls to 84.1 percent.
  • Only 71 percent of the jobs reported by the Class of 2010 were both full-time and permanent.
  • Only 50.9 percent of 2010 grads reporting working for private law firms, a drop of five percentage points from the Class of 2009.
  • The percentage of private practice jobs with large (500+ attorney) firms fell from 25.6 percent in 2009 to 20.5 percent in 2010.

Three additional NALP findings relate directly to my last blog post about “bar passage required” and other jobs. As a review of NALP definitions, a “JD preferred” job is one for which the employer sought an individual with a JD, and perhaps even required a JD, but the job itself does not require bar passage, an active law license, or involve practicing law. An “other professional position” is one that requires professional skills or training but in which a JD is not required and may not, in some cases, be particularly applicable. Finally, a “non-professional” position is one that does not require any special professional skills or training.

  • Of the Class of 2010 graduates for whom employment was known, nationally only 68.4 percent obtained a job for which bar passage is required. This is the lowest “bar passage required” percentage NALP has ever measured.
  • An additional 10.7 percent of 2010 grads obtained “JD preferred” jobs, compared to 9.2 percent for the Class of 2009. This is the highest national “JD preferred” percentage since NALP began tracking this statistic in 2001.
  • 5.6 percent of 2010 grads reported an “other professional” position, while 1.9 percent reported a non-professional position. Both of these figures were up only a fraction of a percentage point from 2009.

The next Career Services blog posting will break down national and KU Law specific salary data for the Class of 2010. We’ll report on the number of students and the corresponding percentage of students reporting salaries for jobs requiring bar passage, JD preferred jobs, and jobs in the public and private sector. We’ll then list the mean, median, 25th and 75th percentile salaries for each of those categories.

Finally, we’ll discuss national and KU Law specific salaries in the following employment categories: business, private practice, government, public interest and judicial clerkships.

Todd Rogers, Assistant Dean for Career Services