The Government’s Dismal Job Outlook for Lawyers

…Is the topic of my latest article on The American Lawyer.

Peace.

One comment

  1. These BLS numbers have to mean that there is large scale, built in unemployment in the up or out system of large law firms. If so, the BLS numbers present a good argument for not going to a top law school because a lot of big law leavers will mathematically be unemployed in a few years due to lack of lawyer jobs.

    With 15,700 lawyer jobs being created for 33,000 law grads, there is an oversupply of law grads.

    Most of the big law jobs are not additional jobs. They are recycled jobs, with the holders of the jobs changing over a few years. Same is true with clerkships and other legal jobs that only relatively inexperienced lawyers can hold. They are not included in the 15,700 number.

    However, the 5,000 to 7,000 leavers from big law each year and other leavers from lawyer jobs that only inexperienced lawyers can hold generally need for someone to leave the legal profession or for a new legal job to be created in order to create a post-big law or other more experienced law job for them. Otherwise, where do their next jobs come from?

    A few thousand of the newly created 15,700 legal jobs each year will go to big law leavers. Others will go to leavers of these other law jobs that one can hold only when one is junior.

    If there are only 15,700 jobs each year and 20,000 first years are getting legal jobs, mostly recycled jobs, the first years need to be pushing big law leavers and others out of the legal profession. The math does not work otherwise. But if top law grads are unemployed post-big law or other inexperienced legal job, no one is the wiser.

    It is actually worse than you think, because there are likely many, many fewer than 15,000 full-time, permanent lawyer jobs for each law school class of lawyers once you reach more than 10 years experience, given the large number of inexperienced legal jobs. If it is 600,000 legal jobs for employees, including temps and doc review, it is much less in real full-time, permanent lawyer jobs. Maybe 100,000 are big firm associates. The other inexperienced jobs have to be many thousands in number.

    It is called the BIG SQUEEZE and means up to half of those of you who get first year lawyer jobs will be pushed out a few years down the road. Harvard does not help here nor does Yale. You are screwed if you become unemployed because of the numbers game.

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