Job market proves weak for Class of 2009

According to a recent study by the National Association of Law Placement, the employment rate for new law school graduates has fallen nearly four percentage points in two years. The employment rate is higher than many expected, but the overall rate may disguise weaknesses in the job market.

The survey, “Selected Findings in the Employment Report and Salary Survey for the Class of 2009,” revealed an employment rate of 88.3 percent among graduates, marking the lowest rate since the mid-1990s. Still, this rate may mask a number of fundamental faults in the job market, including employment in firms with deferred start-dates and employment in low-paying or unsatisfying jobs. Nearly 25 percent of graduates declared that their employment was “temporary” and 10 percent of graduates hold jobs that are part-time.

Law schools created a variety of employment opportunities for graduates through bridge programs, fellowships, and grant programs for public interest work. NALP estimated that these programs accounted for over 800 jobs or a full two percentage points in the employment rate.