Employment Rate Continues To Fall for 2013 Law Grads

By Kelsey Penna  

June 19 — New law school graduates from the class of 2013 found more jobs and higher starting salaries for the second year in a row, but the overall employment rate continues to fall.

That's according to an employment report conducted by the National Association for Law School Placement (NALP) released June 19. A historically large graduating class is to blame for the 0.2 percent decrease in employment rate, down from 84.7 percent for the Class of 2012, NALP said.

“In general, the picture that emerges is one of slow growth, and growth that is a blend of continued shrinkage and downsizing in some areas offset by growth in other areas,” James Leipold, NALP Executive Director, said in commentary accompanying the report.

Modest Improvement

There are signs of modest improvement, with just more than half, 51.1 percent, of employed graduates obtaining private practice jobs as of February 2013. This is up from 50.7 percent for the class of 2012 and is the highest since 2010, according to the report.

Since NALP, a Washington-based nonprofit education group, started collecting employment data in 1985, the percentage of jobs in law firms has mostly been in the 55 to 58 percent range. Both large and small firms have continued to rebound from their low point in 2011.

For two-thirds of the new graduate jobs reported as full-time and lasting at least a year, the national median salary for the class of 2013 was $62,467, compared with $61,245 for 2012. It is the second year-over-year increase in the overall median since 2008, but still substantially lower than the $72,000 median salary from that year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kelsey Penna in Washington at kpenna@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Meg McEvoy at mmcevoy@bna.com

Full text of the findings is available at www.nalp.org/classof2013.