Jobs May Be Down, But Salaries Go Up For Law Grads

law grads job marketIn June, we reported on the ABA’s 2015 Employment Report for Law Grads. To recap, we found that the employment rate remained nearly the same between the Class of 2014 and 2015. Despite the decline in enrollment, the unemployment rate hovered at about 9.7%.

Fast forward to August and NALP has more to add to the story. News that may offer a glimpse of hope to current and future law students, as well as, recent law graduates.

This month, the National Association for Law Placement, took a deeper dive into the employment and salary rates of recent law grads.

Just as the ABA had reported, NALP found that the actual number of jobs obtained had gone down. However, NALP did note that a few sectors actually saw an increase. For the first time since the recession, law firms jobs with more than 500 employees rose. Likewise, so too did judicial clerkships.

The report also found that more law grads were accepting positions classified as “bar passage required”. Interestingly enough, the findings also claimed the number of law grads working in temporary, short-term and part-time roles was declining.

However, the most fascinating find from the study addressed the salaries for the Class of 2015. Surprisingly, the rates have gone up.

Though the increases are small, it’s worth noting that the median salary in each sector reported rose.

When comparing the Class of 2014 with 2015 law grads, the median salary increased by 3% ($63K to $64.8K). Law firms jobs saw the biggest jump of 5% ($95K to $100K). Law grads landing jobs in the public sector earned $55K, compared to their peers graduating in 2014 who earned on average about $52.7K. Even graduates in the public sector out-earned their classmates who graduated in 2014 by $2K ($47K vs. $45K).

It’s important to keep in mind that though many of these numbers have increased, they still have not surpassed many of the baselines set in the past. There is still a long way to go before law grad employment and salary rates return to normalcy. Will employment rates remain stagnant? Will salaries continue to rise? Only time will tell what the fate will be for future law grads.

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