Data show job market remains tepid for 2013 law school graduates

Job prospects for 2013 law school graduates changed little from the year before, according to data recently released by the American Bar Association.

About 57 percent of students who graduated law school in 2013 secured long-term, full-time jobs that required them to pass the bar exam as of nine months after graduation. That percentage is only slightly more than the Class of 2012, of whom 56.2 percent were employed in the same type of job nine months after graduation.

The proportion of graduates finding jobs has risen slowly in the three years since the American Bar Association started collecting detailed employment statistics for law school graduates. The employment rate for the Class of 2011, the first year that data were collected, was 54.9 percent for long-term, full-time jobs that required passage of the bar exam.

However, 2013 also saw a slight growth in the portion of law school graduates who were unemployed. According to the data, 11.2 percent of 2013 graduates were unemployed or seeking work as of February, compared with 10.6 percent of 2012 graduates and 9.2 percent of 2011 graduates.

That increase may be partly because of the sheer volume of people graduating from law school: A record 46,776 students graduated law school in 2013.

However, the number of law school graduates is expected to taper off in the next couple of years, based on declining first-year enrollment data for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years. These students will graduate this year and next.

Capital Business is The Post’s weekly publication focusing on the region’s business community. For more Washington business news, go to capbiz.biz.

Catherine Ho covers law and lobbying for Capital Business, which she joined in 2011. She was previously a reporter at the Daily Journal in Los Angeles, covering LA civil courts and labor and employment law.
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