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ABA Section of Legal Ed Report: More Grads Getting Top Jobs

Newly published employment data from the American Bar Association (ABA) shows a marked increase in the number of law school graduates who found top jobs in the legal field when comparing the 2020 graduating class to the 2021 graduating class.

The data shows 83% of those who graduated from ABA-approved law schools in 2021 found “full-time, long-term Bar Passage Required or J.D. Advantage jobs” within approximately 10 months of graduation. For the 2020 companion cohort, the data shows 77.4% had found like work within a comparable window.

“The higher percentage of graduates in the Bar Passage Required or J.D. Advantage jobs likely reflects a modest increase in the number of jobs nationwide, perhaps due to the legal market’s recovery from the impact of the pandemic,” said Bill Adams, managing director of ABA accreditation and legal education in a statement. “This is encouraging given there was also a 3.8% increase in the number of total graduates.”

According to the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, there were 29,624 graduates who were able to find qualifying work in 2021. In 2020, that number was 26,638. Additionally, the total number of “full-time, long-term Bar Passage Required or J.D. Advantage jobs” jumped by nearly 3,000, or more than 11%, between 2020 and 2021.

From Twitter 

Paul Cogan @PaulCogan Apr 10

"When you read that the 'tight' jobs market is 'fueling inflation' and 'requiring the Fed to raise interest rates' watch your wallets. This is rubbish. It’s being pushed by Wall Street and corporate economists. Inflation is being fueled by corporate pricing power."

Overall, the data shows the class of 2021 produced 35,712 total graduates while the class of 2020 produced 34,420 total graduates.

“The ABA’s accrediting body, under Standard 509 of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools, requires schools to report to the ABA and publicly disclose varied information, including employment outcomes,” according to the announcement. “Employment and other statistics are posted to the section’s statistics web page. Bar passage data will be posted later this month.”

Earlier this month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released broad employment data indicating the nation’s job market, in general, has improved. Nonfarm payroll employment increased by approximately 431,000 jobs while the unemployment rate fell to 3.6%.

“Notable job gains continued in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, and manufacturing,” reads the BLS summary.

From Twitter 

Pytheas @PytheasThe

PLP 2022.04.23"The #US yield on the 10-year note, which sets the tone for corporate and household borrowing costs worldwide, rose past 2.86%, a level not seen since late 2018. In the meantime, the job market has been showing signs of being extremely tight. Via @tEconomics #Bonds"

A more detailed breakdown of the data, as well as an explanation of relevant terms and definitions pertinent to the survey, can be found in this ABA chart.


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