What Happened to the Class of 2010? Empirical Evidence of Structural Change in the Legal Profession
Deborah Jones Merritt
Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law
January 30, 2016
Michigan State Law Review, p. 1043, 2015
Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 290
HLS Center on the Legal Profession Research Paper No. 2015-3
Poor employment outcomes have plagued law school graduates for several years. Legal scholars have debated whether these outcomes stem from macroeconomic cycles or from fundamental changes in the market for legal services. This Article examines that question empirically, using a database of employment outcomes for more than 1,200 lawyers who received their JDs in 2010. The analysis offers strong evidence of structural shifts in the legal market. Job outcomes have improved only marginally for the Class of 2010, those outcomes contrast sharply with results for earlier classes, and law firm jobs have dropped markedly. In addition to discussing these results, the Article examines correlations between job outcomes and gender, law school prestige, and geography. In a concluding section, it offers four predictions about the future of the legal market and the economics of legal education.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 82
Keywords: Legal Education, Legal Profession, Structural Change, Employment, Gender, Empirical
JEL Classification: K00
Date posted: March 13, 2015 ; Last revised: April 7, 2016
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