The Minneapolis 2040 Plan Is Unlikely to Provide Affordable Housing

…Appears on the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation’s Web blog.

I argue that the residential upzoning policies in the Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan won’t really lead to more affordable housing. Here’s a quote:

[The] Minneapolis 2040 plan does something that no other major American city has ever attempted: it shifts zoning practice away from real-estate parcels for single-family use. No, it doesn’t abolish them altogether, thus forcing homeowners to build condos or apartment buildings. Rather, the plan permits homeowners in the least developed parts of Minneapolis to upgrade their lots into duplexes or triplexes. Landowners living along transit corridors will have even greater development options. This policy, referred to as “upzoning,” is popular among urban advocates, and until now cities have only implemented it piecemeal. The plan’s purpose for these ambitious changes includes increasing the availability of affordable housing, reducing rents, and helping realize the mayor’s goal of racial justice.

You can read the rest here.

[Edit: Oh, gosh! Where are my manners? I must add for full disclosure and transparency that I sit on the board of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.]

Labor Dept.: 50,100 New Lawyer Jobs by 2028, Turnover of 27 Percent

On September 4, 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its employment projections for the next cycle, 2018-2028.

For 2018, the BLS’s Employment Projections program (EP program) estimates that there were 823,900 lawyer positions (as opposed to discrete lawyers) in the United States. This figure includes self-employed attorneys. In 2016, the EP program found 792,500 lawyer positions, so there has been some growth between the two years. According to the BLS’s Current Population Survey (CPS), in 2018, 1.199 million people worked as lawyers in the United States. The discrepancy between the CPS and the EP program has existed for some time. In their respective contexts, both figures are correct.

The BLS projects future employment trends in part to help job seekers evaluate career choices, and the projections play an outsized role in the BLS’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. Here is an illustration from various sources that converts the flows of law-school graduates and new lawyers into stocks that can be compared to BLS employment measures since the 1980s.

Click here to read more:

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LSAT Tea-Leaf Reading: June 2019 Edition

Ahoy, readers! I bring good news: Now that we’ve endured a full year under the LSAC’s new regime of six LSAT administrations per year, I can now return to regular LSAT-tea-leaf-reading reporting! Woohoo!

But wait, there’s more! Because the LSAC now regularly reports first-time test takers (and it graciously furnished me with data from previous years) I can now provide even more detailed tea-leaf reading! I’m especially pleased because for the first time in a while, a law-school data-collection organization has changed its methods in a way that I approve of with no drawbacks. Think about that when you see The Matrix: Defragmented when it comes to theaters.

Enough talk. Behold, the new and exciting annual LSAT moving-sum chart:

(Source: LSAC Web site and its reports)

The June LSAT administration signals a significant decline in interest in law school. 16,441 (-26.9%) people sat for the test, of whom 10,279 (-33.9%) were first-time takers. The moving sum of LSATs was 132,549 (-4.4%), which is similar to December 2011 or February 2002. Meanwhile, the same measure of first-time takers is 73,408 (-6.7%), resembling December 2017 Sept./Oct. 2012 or even December 1996.

As you may suspect, the ratio of first-time takers to total tests administered has fallen since our last trough period of December 2014. Back then—and this analysis applies to the moving sum, not the actual administration—it was 62 percent, but in June it was 55 percent.

Editorial: The Trump bump appears to be fading fast, but more surprisingly, the number of first-time test takers has fallen quite a bit since last year. It be because counselors are still adjusting to the new six-administration structure, i.e. college students didn’t know about the July option, which is a lot easier to study for than the June one. Overall, this trend is moving at a rate similar to the law-school crash years, e.g. Sept./Oct. 2012. Moreover, test takers are much more tenacious about retaking the exam than they were even five years ago. It’s a new breed of prospective law-school applicant. I don’t care to read through the report on repeat test takers to see if their performance is improving, but it’s something that may interest scambloggers or academics.

That’s all from me. Enjoy your summers, readers!

CLASS OF 2018 EMPLOYMENT REPORT: The Rankings

As an appendix to my employment report, here is a ranking of all the law schools that reported employment data by their percentages of graduates finding full-time, long-term, bar-passage-required jobs. (Taste all the those hyphens.)

PERCENT GRADUATES EMPLOYED FULL-TIME/LONG-TERM IN BAR-PASSAGE-REQUIRED JOBS (EXCL. LAW-SCHOOL-FUNDED JOBS)
RANK LAW SCHOOL ’17 ’18 CHANGE
1. Columbia 92.6% 93.5% 0.9%
2. Virginia 91.6% 92.6% 1.1%
3. Duke 93.8% 91.4% -2.4%
4. Chicago 92.1% 91.3% -0.8%
5. Cornell 92.1% 90.8% -1.3%
6. New York University 88.6% 89.7% 1.1%
7. Northwestern 82.3% 89.5% 7.3%
8. Michigan 90.4% 89.3% -1.0%
9. California-Berkeley 88.2% 89.3% 1.1%
10. Pennsylvania 90.6% 88.9% -1.7%
11. Seton Hall 82.6% 88.6% 6.0%
12. Washington University 85.8% 87.6% 1.7%
13. Iowa 77.4% 87.2% 9.9%
14. Belmont 75.6% 87.2% 11.5%
15. Kentucky 79.6% 87.0% 7.4%
16. Washington and Lee 79.8% 86.7% 6.9%
17. Harvard 86.7% 86.1% -0.6%
18. Georgia 84.0% 85.6% 1.7%
19. Texas 79.2% 85.3% 6.1%
20. Stanford 82.7% 85.0% 2.2%
21. Baylor 82.3% 84.7% 2.4%
22. Vanderbilt 86.2% 82.7% -3.5%
23. St. John’s 72.0% 82.3% 10.3%
24. North Carolina 70.8% 82.2% 11.4%
25. Notre Dame 80.7% 82.0% 1.3%
26. Nebraska 74.0% 81.9% 7.9%
27. Georgetown 76.8% 81.8% 5.0%
28. Fordham 70.2% 81.4% 11.2%
29. Penn State (Dickinson Law) 67.2% 81.0% 13.7%
30. Minnesota 80.5% 80.7% 0.2%
31. Texas Tech 69.5% 80.6% 11.1%
32. Florida 75.9% 80.6% 4.7%
33. Boston University 75.6% 80.5% 5.0%
34. California-Los Angeles 79.1% 80.3% 1.3%
35. Colorado 76.2% 80.3% 4.1%
36. Southern Methodist 75.8% 80.0% 4.2%
37. Ohio State 76.4% 79.8% 3.4%
38. William and Mary 76.0% 79.7% 3.7%
39. Rutgers 76.8% 79.7% 2.8%
40. Louisiana State 81.3% 79.3% -2.1%
41. Illinois 78.2% 79.2% 1.0%
42. Southern California 85.6% 79.0% -6.6%
43. Tulsa 81.4% 79.0% -2.4%
44. Washington 68.9% 78.9% 10.0%
45. Villanova 75.5% 78.9% 3.4%
46. Hofstra 75.9% 77.8% 1.9%
47. Detroit Mercy 43.7% 77.7% 34.0%
48. Alabama 83.2% 77.5% -5.7%
49. South Carolina 68.1% 77.5% 9.4%
50. Nevada 75.8% 77.4% 1.6%
51. Wisconsin 74.2% 77.3% 3.1%
52. Yale 75.0% 77.2% 2.2%
53. Utah 76.1% 77.2% 1.1%
54. Temple 79.3% 77.0% -2.2%
55. Montana 74.4% 76.8% 2.4%
56. Willamette 67.0% 76.6% 9.6%
57. California-Davis 71.3% 76.3% 5.0%
58. Florida State 70.4% 76.1% 5.7%
59. Cardozo, Yeshiva 80.1% 76.1% -4.0%
60. Loyola (CA) 68.2% 76.1% 7.8%
61. Oklahoma 80.8% 76.0% -4.7%
62. Louisville 71.2% 76.0% 4.7%
63. Houston 66.2% 75.7% 9.4%
64. Drake 62.1% 75.5% 13.4%
65. Brigham Young 60.0% 75.4% 15.4%
66. Boston College 79.4% 74.8% -4.6%
67. Emory 71.9% 74.8% 2.9%
68. Florida International 72.3% 74.7% 2.4%
69. California-Irvine 75.0% 74.6% -0.4%
70. Connecticut 65.4% 74.4% 9.1%
71. Stetson 63.5% 74.0% 10.5%
72. Cleveland State 52.1% 73.9% 21.7%
73. Miami 75.4% 73.7% -1.7%
74. Drexel 71.0% 73.6% 2.7%
75. Arizona State 74.2% 73.6% -0.7%
76. Northeastern 69.7% 73.5% 3.8%
77. George Washington 69.8% 72.3% 2.6%
78. Albany 70.9% 72.3% 1.4%
79. Kansas 68.6% 72.3% 3.7%
80. Duquesne 63.5% 71.7% 8.2%
81. Indiana (Bloomington) 67.2% 71.6% 4.4%
82. Georgia State 69.6% 71.5% 1.9%
83. Liberty 63.8% 71.1% 7.3%
84. Pace 74.7% 71.1% -3.6%
85. Marquette 71.2% 70.9% -0.3%
86. Wayne State 57.0% 70.9% 13.9%
87. St. Louis 72.7% 69.9% -2.8%
88. Missouri (Columbia) 75.5% 69.9% -5.6%
89. Tulane 64.0% 69.9% 5.9%
90. New Hampshire 77.0% 69.9% -7.2%
91. Mercer 69.6% 69.7% 0.1%
92. Maryland 57.1% 69.7% 12.6%
93. Wyoming 67.1% 69.4% 2.3%
94. Tennessee 73.0% 69.3% -3.7%
95. Lincoln Memorial 76.5% 69.2% -7.2%
96. SUNY Buffalo 61.2% 69.2% 8.0%
97. Oklahoma City 65.6% 69.1% 3.5%
98. Penn State (Penn State Law) 71.9% 68.8% -3.1%
99. Creighton 68.3% 68.3% 0.0%
100. Regent 59.0% 68.2% 9.2%
101. Washburn 66.0% 68.0% 2.0%
102. Loyola (LA) 57.0% 67.9% 10.9%
103. Samford 62.3% 67.9% 5.6%
104. Pepperdine 59.6% 67.9% 8.2%
105. Michigan State 59.3% 67.5% 8.1%
106. Texas A&M [Wesleyan] 64.1% 67.4% 3.3%
107. Touro 68.0% 67.4% -0.6%
108. Brooklyn 71.7% 67.3% -4.4%
109. Wake Forest 75.1% 67.1% -8.0%
110. Syracuse 69.1% 67.1% -2.1%
111. City University 69.1% 66.7% -2.5%
112. Baltimore 60.3% 66.7% 6.4%
113. West Virginia 74.5% 66.3% -8.2%
114. Case Western Reserve 60.1% 65.9% 5.7%
115. George Mason 60.5% 65.7% 5.2%
116. Richmond 67.8% 65.2% -2.6%
117. San Diego 59.3% 65.2% 5.8%
118. Cincinnati 75.7% 64.4% -11.3%
119. St. Thomas (MN) 53.3% 64.4% 11.1%
120. California-Hastings 58.9% 64.3% 5.3%
121. Chicago-Kent, IIT 59.6% 64.2% 4.6%
122. Idaho 60.4% 64.2% 3.8%
123. Hawaii 58.3% 64.2% 5.9%
124. South Dakota 58.2% 64.1% 5.9%
125. Maine 55.4% 64.0% 8.6%
126. Gonzaga 62.6% 63.9% 1.3%
127. Denver 70.2% 63.1% -7.2%
128. Pittsburgh 63.0% 63.0% -0.1%
129. Lewis and Clark 56.3% 62.9% 6.6%
130. New Mexico 77.4% 62.5% -14.9%
131. Missouri (Kansas City) 74.1% 62.2% -11.9%
132. Quinnipiac 61.9% 61.8% -0.1%
133. Loyola (IL) 62.2% 61.7% -0.5%
134. Vermont 55.6% 61.5% 5.9%
135. Arizona 64.8% 61.5% -3.4%
136. New York Law School 51.0% 61.2% 10.1%
137. Arkansas (Fayetteville) 68.1% 61.1% -7.0%
138. St. Thomas (FL) 54.7% 61.0% 6.3%
139. Widener (Commonwealth) 59.0% 60.4% 1.4%
140. Howard 63.1% 60.2% -3.0%
141. Dayton 50.0% 59.0% 9.0%
142. South Texas-Houston 53.0% 58.6% 5.6%
143. Santa Clara 56.6% 58.5% 1.9%
144. Memphis 69.7% 58.3% -11.4%
145. Massachusetts — Dartmouth 55.1% 58.0% 2.9%
146. Catholic 55.0% 57.7% 2.8%
147. Ohio Northern 71.2% 57.6% -13.5%
148. St. Mary’s 60.2% 57.6% -2.6%
149. Roger Williams 54.1% 57.6% 3.5%
150. Southern Illinois 55.2% 57.3% 2.1%
151. Oregon 61.5% 57.1% -4.4%
152. Mississippi 62.2% 56.5% -5.7%
153. North Dakota 64.1% 56.5% -7.6%
154. Chapman 54.7% 56.0% 1.2%
155. Arkansas (Little Rock) 63.3% 55.9% -7.5%
156. Northern Illinois 60.0% 55.8% -4.2%
157. DePaul 54.8% 55.8% 1.0%
158. Ave Maria 39.5% 55.7% 16.2%
159. John Marshall (Chicago) 56.5% 55.1% -1.4%
160. Northern Kentucky 51.6% 54.8% 3.2%
161. Capital 53.8% 54.5% 0.6%
162. American 53.0% 54.2% 1.2%
163. Akron 59.2% 54.2% -5.0%
164. Indiana (Indianapolis) 55.2% 53.8% -1.4%
165. Toledo 55.3% 53.4% -1.8%
166. Seattle 57.9% 52.9% -5.0%
167. Suffolk 46.7% 52.9% 6.2%
168. Mitchell|Hamline 52.3% 52.5% 0.2%
169. North Texas-Dallas 51.5% 52.4% 0.9%
170. Concordia 62.5% 51.7% -10.8%
171. Elon 34.1% 51.4% 17.3%
172. Florida Coastal 40.8% 50.5% 9.8%
173. Campbell 62.9% 50.4% -12.5%
174. Nova Southeastern 57.1% 49.8% -7.3%
175. Pacific, McGeorge 47.3% 49.6% 2.3%
176. Widener (Delaware) 54.1% 49.1% -5.1%
177. Western State 43.8% 49.0% 5.2%
178. Southwestern 43.5% 48.1% 4.6%
179. Barry 46.3% 47.9% 1.6%
180. Charleston 44.5% 47.3% 2.7%
181. Mississippi College 51.6% 47.2% -4.5%
182. Southern University 45.6% 47.1% 1.5%
183. Texas Southern 59.4% 45.3% -14.1%
184. Faulkner 49.4% 45.0% -4.4%
185. Appalachian 52.4% 44.8% -7.6%
186. California Western 53.8% 44.0% -9.8%
187. New England 38.2% 43.7% 5.5%
188. Florida A&M 43.6% 39.7% -3.9%
189. North Carolina Central 30.1% 39.4% 9.3%
190. District of Columbia 26.8% 38.8% 12.0%
191. Arizona Summit [Phoenix] 34.4% 38.1% 3.7%
192. Western New England 42.6% 33.8% -8.8%
193. Golden Gate 37.9% 32.5% -5.4%
194. WMU Cooley 30.7% 29.7% -1.0%
195. San Francisco 49.0% 29.0% -20.0%
196. Atlanta’s John Marshall 40.0% 25.6% -14.4%
197. Puerto Rico 20.5% 23.4% 2.9%
198. La Verne 31.6% 22.4% -9.2%
199. Thomas Jefferson 23.6% 19.4% -4.1%
200. Inter American 8.8% 10.1% 1.4%
201. Pontifical Catholic 0.7% 0.0% -0.7%
202. Valparaiso 38.4% N/A N/A
203. Whittier 29.5% N/A N/A
TOTAL (EXCL. P.R.) 67.2% 69.4% 2.2%
10TH PERCENTILE (EXCL. P.R.) 47.3% 49.0% 1.7%
25TH PERCENTILE (EXCL. P.R.) 56.6% 57.6% 1.0%
MEDIAN (EXCL. P.R.) 67.1% 68.5% 1.5%
75TH PERCENTILE (EXCL. P.R.) 75.6% 77.5% 1.9%
90TH PERCENTILE (EXCL. P.R.) 82.3% 85.3% 3.0%
MEAN (EXCL. P.R.) 65.5% 67.3% 1.8%

I don’t think there are any law schools missing from the list this year, but the ABA has a habit of removing closed law schools from its database retroactively, as though they never existed at all. Impressively, Arizona Summit and Western State reported their data to the ABA.

Here’s a list of all my employment reports:

CLASS OF 2018 EMPLOYMENT REPORT: About the Same

Good morning, folks! Law-school-employment data are in, and before there’s a revision, this post will depict what they show. As with last year, I’m going to start with the headline information and save the law-school-level ranking of shame for later.

To begin with, here’s the table of graduate underemployment. (Everything on this post excludes the three Puerto Rico law schools.)

STATUS (EXCL. P.R.) 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Unemployed – Not Seeking 1,245 1,014 939 795 553 494 469 441 387
Unemployed – Seeking 2,686 4,016 4,770 5,060 4,103 3,744 3,142 2,610 2,348
Status Unknown 1,458 1,453 1,073 979 841 766 557 437 444
Total Grads 43,526 43,735 45,757 46,112 43,195 39,423 36,619 34,393 33,751
Unemployed – Not Seeking 2.9% 2.3% 2.1% 1.7% 1.3% 1.3% 1.3% 1.3% 1.1%
Unemployed – Seeking 6.2% 9.2% 10.4% 11.0% 9.5% 9.5% 8.6% 7.6% 7.0%
Status Unknown 3.3% 3.3% 2.3% 2.1% 1.9% 1.9% 1.5% 1.3% 1.3%
Total Percent 12.4% 14.8% 14.8% 14.8% 12.7% 12.7% 11.4% 10.1% 9.4%

As with the last few years, overall underemployment fell faster than the number of graduates. The rate of decline appears to be slowing, which isn’t good, but it’s still progress.

On the reverse side, 69.2 percent of graduates found full-time long-term work in bar-passage-required jobs. Last year, that figure was 67.0 percent, so it’s a two-percent jump. In three years, the percentage has risen by 6.7 points, which is quite notable. However, the rate of improvement appears to be slowing, even if the actual number of graduates finding these jobs rose by 300.

So what’s different this year? Let’s take a look at the analytic tables that compare this year to last year.

EMPLOYMENT STATUS NO. OF GRADS GRADS PCT. OF TOTAL PCT. CHANGE IN GRADS DISTRIBUTION OF CHANGE IN GRADS GINI COEFFICIENT
2017 2018 2017 2018 2018 2018 2017 2018
Employed – Bar Passage Required 23,936 23,922 69.6% 70.9% -0.1% 2.2% 0.34 0.34
Employed – JD Advantage 4,027 4,018 11.7% 11.9% -0.2% 1.4% 0.38 0.37
Employed – Professional Position 1,091 991 3.2% 2.9% -9.2% 15.6% 0.54 0.55
Employed – Non-Professional Position 399 346 1.2% 1.0% -13.3% 8.3% 0.55 0.63
Employed – Law School 604 515 1.8% 1.5% -14.7% 13.9% 0.79 0.80
Employed – Undeterminable 23 32 0.1% 0.1% 39.1% -1.4% 0.92 0.90
Employed – Pursuing Graduate Degree 535 480 1.6% 1.4% -10.3% 8.6% 0.52 0.55
Unemployed – Start Date Deferred 290 268 0.8% 0.8% -7.6% 3.4% 0.58 0.58
Unemployed – Not Seeking 441 387 1.3% 1.1% -12.2% 8.4% 0.52 0.53
Unemployed – Seeking 2,610 2,348 7.6% 7.0% -10.0% 40.8% 0.43 0.42
Employment Status Unknown 437 444 1.3% 1.3% 1.6% -1.1% 0.66 0.71
Total Graduates 34,393 33,751 100.0% 100.0% -1.9% 100.0% 0.29 0.30
EMPLOYMENT TYPE NO. OF GRADS GRADS PCT. OF TOTAL PCT. CHANGE IN GRADS DISTRIBUTION OF CHANGE IN GRADS GINI COEFFICIENT
2017 2018 2017 2018 2018 2018 2017 2018
Solo 438 368 1.3% 1.1% -16.0% 10.9% 0.58 0.59
2-10 5,771 5,485 16.8% 16.3% -5.0% 44.5% 0.33 0.34
11-25 1,694 1,731 4.9% 5.1% 2.2% -5.8% 0.42 0.41
26-50 998 1,050 2.9% 3.1% 5.2% -8.1% 0.45 0.45
51-100 800 850 2.3% 2.5% 6.3% -7.8% 0.48 0.46
101-250 977 1,016 2.8% 3.0% 4.0% -6.1% 0.51 0.48
251-500 1,003 957 2.9% 2.8% -4.6% 7.2% 0.64 0.63
501-PLUS 4,611 4,777 13.4% 14.2% 3.6% -25.9% 0.77 0.76
Unknown 96 99 0.3% 0.3% 3.1% -0.5% 0.85 0.87
Business Industry 4,149 3,841 12.1% 11.4% -7.4% 48.0% 0.36 0.36
Government 4,132 4,101 12.0% 12.2% -0.8% 4.8% 0.32 0.33
Public Interest 1,618 1,679 4.7% 5.0% 3.8% -9.5% 0.48 0.48
Federal Clerkship 1,171 1,190 3.4% 3.5% 1.6% -3.0% 0.69 0.69
State/Local Clerkship 2,048 2,130 6.0% 6.3% 4.0% -12.8% 0.58 0.58
Other Clerkship 25 27 0.1% 0.1% 8.0% -0.3% 0.92 0.95
Education 481 462 1.4% 1.4% -4.0% 3.0% 0.48 0.52
Unknown Employer Type 66 70 0.2% 0.2% 6.1% -0.6% 0.91 0.90
Total Employed by Type 30,078 29,833 87.5% 88.4% -0.8% 38.2% 0.31 0.31

In ’18, there were 642 fewer graduates than in 2017, a decline of 1.9 percent. By comparison, last year I reported a drop of 6.1 percent. Because the change in graduates is mild this year it’s not so easy to pick apart the data to identify clear trends. Nevertheless, the three biggest employment statuses contributing to the decline were: Unemployed – Seeking (40.8%), Employed – Professional Position (15.6%), and Employed – Law School (13.9%). The total here is 70.2 percent.

Changes among the employment types accounted for just 38.2 percent of the 642 fewer graduates, and the categories are quite polarized. Business Industry (+48%), 2-10-lawyer practices (+44.5%), State/Local Clerkship (-12.8%), and 501-plus-lawyer firms (-25.9%). That is to say, Business Industry jobs fell and clerkships rose, etcetera.

Here’s a link to my discussion of what Gini coefficients mean. They vary little year by year, so there’s not much of a reason to discuss them beyond the disgustingly out-of-reach federal clerkships.

Editorial: This year’s employment report is the first in a while that was a bit muddy because the graduate crash is leveling off. Still, it appears more grads were able to find jobs, those jobs were better overall, and law-firm jobs are shifting away from smaller practices to much larger ones. These are good trends in principle. Mostly though, I would hesitate to read too much into an employment report that differs so little from last year’s.

Similar editions of this post from prior years can be found here:

W&S Lawyer Employment Rises in 2018, Incomes Flat

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) usually completes its updates of its many measures of occupational employment for the previous year by April. Data for 2018 are now available, allowing a comprehensive summary of lawyer employment for that year. For detailed discussion of what the BLS datasets are and how they address lawyer employment, I recommend the lawyer overproduction page [updated!].

For context, according to the Current Population Survey (CPS), the number of people who reported working as lawyers in 2018 grew 5 percent to 1,199,000 (+62,000 people). The CPS also estimated 853,000 people working as lawyers on a wage or salary basis, a 9 percent rise from the previous year (+72,000 lawyers). By contrast, the more accurate Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program found that the number of wage-and-salary lawyers grew by 2 percent last year to 642,750 (+14,380 jobs). The number of employee lawyers in the legal sector also grew by 2 percent to 397,620 (+8,950).

Employee lawyers’ incomes were pretty much flat in 2018. The OES showed a -1 percent median hourly wage decline after adjusting for inflation, but the CPS registered no real change at all. Going by the OES, the last peak for lawyers’ earnings was 2009 (~$125,000 annually); incomes are about 9 percent lower (-$10,940) in real dollars since then. Here is an annualized dispersion.

These lawyer employment and income measures are not strong bellwethers for the value of legal education because they include many established lawyers and don’t measure recent graduate outcomes particularly well, especially those of graduates who do not promptly start careers in law. Readers seeking insight into that topic are instead advised to look at my criteria for predicting improvements in law graduate outcomes and the lawyer production page for a clear discussion of the BLS’s Employment Projections program.

**********

Prior editions of this post:

17 Law Schools Didn’t Report Graduate Debt to U.S. News (’18)

Each year U.S. News & World Report lists law schools by the average indebtedness of their graduates. Importantly, the figures exclude accrued interest, which can be quite considerable. However, these numbers are probably the best estimate of the cost of attendance at a particular law school presented in a comparable form. The ABA does not publicize graduate debt in the 509 information reports, making U.S. News an unfortunately necessary source.

Here’s the debt table, ranked by the highest average debt of the most recent graduating class. A recurring problem in U.S. News’ debt data is law schools that misreport their graduating students’ annual debt as opposed to their cumulative debt, which is what the magazine asks for. Thus, I include last year’s numbers and the percent change to draw attention to wide swings and encourage ridicule of law schools that cannot follow basic survey directions, but I welcome corrections. Out of compassion, I omit the three law schools in Puerto Rico.

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