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American Bar Association releases law graduate employment data for class of 2014

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American Bar Association releases law graduate employment data for class of 2014

By John Glynn

CHICAGO, April 29, 2015 — Law schools reported a slight rise in the percentage of 2014 graduates obtaining entry-level jobs compared with 2013 and a slight decline in the total number of jobs, according to figures announced today by the American Bar Association's accrediting body. The two numbers are explained, in part, by the decrease in law school graduates from 2013 to 2014.

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar released aggregate national data on law graduate employment outcomes for the class of 2014 and posted individual schools' post-graduate employment figures online at http://employmentsummary.abaquestionnaire.org/. An online table also provides select national side-by-side comparisons between the classes of 2014 and 2013.

The nation's 204 ABA-approved law schools reported that roughly 10 months after graduation, 31,160 graduates of the class of 2014, or 71 percent, were employed in long-term, full-time positions where bar passage is required or a J.D. is preferred. The 2014 figures break down as follows:

  • 26,248 graduates of the class of 2014, or 59.9 percent, were employed in long-term, full-time positions that require bar passage.

  • 4,912 graduates of the class of 2014, or 11.2 percent, were employed in long-term, full-time "J.D. advantage" positions where a law degree is preferred.

  • 9.8 percent of the class of 2014 were unemployed and seeking employment

In the class of 2013, 31,368 graduates, or 67 percent, were employed roughly nine months after graduation in long-term, full-time positions where bar passage is required or a J.D. is preferred. The 2013 figures break down as follows:

  • 26,653 graduates of the class of 2013, or 57 percent, were employed in long-term, full-time positions that require bar passage.

  • 4,715 graduates of the class of 2013, or 10.1 percent, were employed in long-term, full-time positions where a law degree is preferred.

  • 11.2 percent of the class of 2013 were unemployed and seeking employment.

The class of 2014 had 43,832 graduates, down 6.5 percent from 2013's largest-ever class of 46,776 graduates.

Data for the class of 2014 reflect the employment status of graduates as of March 15, 2015, roughly 10 months after graduation. Previously the data covered the employment status of graduates about nine months after graduation. The ABA's accrediting body made this change to improve comparability of employment data across schools given that some states release bar exam results later than others.

The ABA's accrediting body, under Standard 509 of the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools, requires schools to report to the ABA and publicly disclose various information, including employment outcomes. Employment and other statistics are posted to the Section of Legal Education statistics website.

The council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and its accreditation committee are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the national accrediting agency for programs leading to the J.D. The section’s 14,000 members strive to improve legal education and lawyer licensing by fostering cooperation among legal educators, practitioners and judges through workshops, conferences and publications. The section also studies and makes recommendations for the improvement of the bar admission process.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.ambar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.