The Law School Admissions Council released applicant numbers for the class of 2015. No surprise, they are lower than recent years. So far, 41,136 people have applied to law school for fall 2015 entry. Obviously some more applications could trickle in. However, the number is significantly lower than a decade ago when about 95,800 people applied for fall of 2005 law school entry.
The National Law Journal has another recent study that they think might shed more light on the issue. It’s from professor Deborah Jones Merritt of The Ohio State University’s Michael E. Moritz College of Law. It is an in-depth examination of the job prospects of lawyers admitted into the 2010 Ohio bar.
Some of the highlights include a 6.3 percent unemployment rate, 40 percent of graduates working for law firms and 20 percent working in jobs that do not require law degrees.
The study also broke down employment figures in categories of nine months after graduation (February 2011) and 55 months after graduation (December 2014). Nine months after graduation, 68.2 percent had jobs requiring passage of the bar. In December 2014, the number increased to 75.1 percent. Interestingly, solo practitioners jumped from 2.5 percent to 9.1 percent during that time. As expected, judicial clerks dropped from 8.1 percent to 2.1 percent.
Good news is, unemployment actually dropped to 6.3 percent. In February of 2011, it was at 9.5 percent. Still, only three-fourths of the graduates have jobs that require bar passage. Merritt believes geographic constraints have a lot to do with the results. She explains that three-fourths of all graduates sit for the bar in the same region as the school they graduated and believes less job opportunity in and around Ohio has played a role in the results.
Merritt also looked at results from a gender standpoint. She found men are more likely to work in private practice or business while women are more likely to work in government, public interest and academia. Additionally, men outnumber women in solo and small firm practices. Four years after passing the bar, 58 percent of men and 45 percent of women were in private practice.
Obviously, these numbers cannot fully be applied ed to a national level. But they do provide some insights into employment trends for those who pass the bar.
Source: The National Law Review
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