Not a New Problem: How the State of the Legal Profession Has Been Secretly in Decline for Quite Some Time

56 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2012  

Marc Gans

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Date Written: June 24, 2012

Abstract

My goal was to provide an in-depth analysis of the job market for new law graduates over time, as well as the state of the legal field as a whole. Using historical records, I reached the following results:

- Depending on which dataset is used, of the 1.4 million law graduates of the last 40-years, 200,000-600,000 are not working as attorneys.

- Using NALP data, I calculate a True Employment Percentage (full-time, JD-required jobs excluding those who start their own practice) and find that it has been bad for a long time, not just recently. Over the last 25 years this percentage has averaged 68%, meaning 1 out of every 3 graduates couldn't find legal work. I also use regression to show that it is not correlated with bar passage rates.

- Using this True Employment Percentage, I found that the ABA should have stopped accrediting law schools in the mid-1970's.

- The ABA dataset shows that overall, these "newer" law schools have worse employment outcomes, especially for the most desirable jobs. For example, 16% of graduates of schools accredited before 1975 found employment in firms of 100 attorneys, while under 4% of graduates of schools accredited after this time did.

- Income inequality for starting salaries has been widening dramatically. Over the last 16 years, the 75th percentile real starting salary has increased 73%, while the 25th percentile real starting salary has increased just 11% (almost all of it occurring before 2000).

Keywords: law school, graduation, unemployed, NALP, bar passage, ABA, accredited, bar exam, employment rate, unemployment rate

Suggested Citation

Gans, Marc, Not a New Problem: How the State of the Legal Profession Has Been Secretly in Decline for Quite Some Time (June 24, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2173144 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2173144

Marc Gans (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
433
Rank
52,823
Abstract Views
2,342