Site Update 2015-02-09: Law Graduate Overproduction Page

The update can be found here. (The 2011 edition has been moved here.)

To keep the analysis consistent with previous years, I used the class of 2013 even though data for the class on 2014 are available (and logged by moi). It’s a little problematic given that 2013 was the law graduate high tide, but that’s what happens when law schools enroll people without regard to employment outcomes.

I do not discussed the BLS’s proposed changes to its methodology for measuring occupational replacements. Assuming it’s approved, then for future versions, if the BLS separates annual replacement openings between those created by workers who leave the labor force and workers who move to different occupations, then I’ll use the labor force rate as the measure for “sustainable jobs.” It’s imperfect, but the same can be said of the current methodology.

I’ve also updated the site’s highly popular lawyers per capita by state page to include employed lawyers per capita and idle attorneys using the 2012 employment data. I am waiting on the ABA to update its national lawyer counts for 2014 and 2015. (They do plan on doing that right?)

At this time, I will brag that the Census Bureau’s press relations department cited my work on this topic last August.


  1. Was wondering if you thought the NY numbers seemed low. Just biglaw alone has to have more than 1500 associates starting each year in the city.

    1. Not really. The annual growth rate isn’t a measure of “jobs” so much as a measure of “positions.” If biglaw chews up associates within five years, let’s say, then one replacement position is created over ten years while the law schools would account for them as two employed grads. Thus, each year it may appear that graduates are finding jobs, but they’re not sustainable. This is a benefit of the labor projections and why I use them.

      It’s also the crux of the dispute I had with Prof. Seto a few months back. He thought that when the BLS proposed to include people who switched out of law positions who weren’t being measured before that it meant 2016 grads would all be employed. It turned out the BLS calculated that the profession has a 25% occupational transfer rate over ten years. People can find jobs in law, but they don’t necessarily last long. They’re more helpful for looking at employment prospects than pointing to the number of employed grads who melt away once everyone’s stopped looking.

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