15:37, May 11 399 0 abajournal.com

2017-05-11 15:37:04
Employment data shows ‘challenging’ job market for 2016 law grads

Comparatively, 70 percent of 2015 law school graduates had full-time, long-term jobs that required JDs. But there’s been a 7 percent decrease in graduating law school class sizes between 2015 and 2016, according to an ABA press release (PDF).

“The data show that the job market has stabilized and continues to be challenging for law graduates,” Barry Currier, the ABA’s managing director of accreditation and legal education, told the ABA Journal in an email.

“It is important to remember in studying these outcomes that they are a snapshot taken about 10 months after graduation. Graduates will continue to find employment after that date and to change jobs as they settle into their careers,” he wrote. “These early reports are an important part of the story for the class of 2016, but they are certainly not the full story.”

Ohio State University law professor Deborah J. Merritt, who writes at Law School Cafe, notes that the number of graduates with JD-required jobs fell from 23,687 for the class of 2015 to 22,930 for the class of 2016. That’s a decline of 3.1 percent, Merritt writes, but the year-over-year decline of JD-required jobs is smaller than last year’s, which was 8.6 percent.

Also, 14.1 percent of the 2016 graduates had full-time, long-term JD-advantage positions. There was a 7.9 percent decrease of long-term, full-time JD-advantage jobs between 2015 and 2016, according to the data. However, long-term part-time JD-advantage jobs increased by 16.3 percent. There was also an increase in short-term, part-time JD-advantage jobs.

The actual number of 2016 graduates in short-term, JD-advantage jobs is small, Merritt told the ABA Journal, but worth noting.

“I think the number of long-term, full-time, JD-advantage jobs supports what people have been saying—some graduates want those jobs, but many take them only when they can’t find jobs that require a JD,” Merritt said.