Reconsidering the Conventional Wisdom on the Legal Job Market

15 Pages Posted: 2 May 2013 Last revised: 6 Aug 2013

See all articles by D. Benjamin Barros

D. Benjamin Barros

University of Toledo - College of Law

Date Written: April 30, 2013


Over the past year or so, a conventional wisdom has developed about the status of the legal job market. This conventional wisdom has at least three components: (1) Recent graduates are getting law jobs at distressingly low levels. (2) The legal job market is undergoing a profound structural change. (3) The lousy job market is a reflection of these long-term changes, and is not just a product of a recession and slow recovery.

In this short paper, I push back against certain aspects of this conventional wisdom. I argue that it is highly likely that more recent graduates throughout the country are getting law jobs than the conventional wisdom assumes. My argument is based on data about what graduates from my school actually are doing now. I also briefly discuss the claim that the poor job market is due to structural changes in the legal job market. I explain why I am skeptical that the structural changes in the legal job market are significantly different than those that have occurred in the past, and why I am therefore skeptical that the current anemic state of the legal job market is the result of structural, rather than economic, factors. Finally, I briefly discuss Bureau of Labor Statistics data on the legal job market, and will explain why caution must be used in interpreting this data in discussion of legal employment.

Keywords: legal job, recent graduates, law jobs, law, legal, jobs, employment, firm, alumni

JEL Classification: E2, E3, E6, J2, J3, J4, J6, K31, L1, L2, M00

Suggested Citation

Barros, D. Benjamin, Reconsidering the Conventional Wisdom on the Legal Job Market (April 30, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

D. Benjamin Barros (Contact Author)

University of Toledo - College of Law ( email )

2801 W. Bancroft Street
Toledo, OH 43606
United States

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