June 01, 2020

ABA legal education section releases employment data for graduating law class of 2019

CHICAGO, June 1, 2020 — Employment data for the graduating law class of 2019 as reported by American Bar Association-approved law schools to the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is now publicly available.

An online table provides select national outcomes and side-by-side comparisons for the classes of 2018 and 2019. Further reports on employment outcomes, including links to individual school outcomes and spreadsheets aggregating those reports, are available on the ABA Required Disclosures page of the section’s website.

Each year’s employment outcomes measure law graduate employment on March 15, which is approximately 10 months after spring graduation. For the class of 2019, this date occurred just as the United States began experiencing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the data reported for the class of 2019 reflects law graduate employment outcomes on March 16, 2020 — the first business day after March 15 — and may not reflect current law graduate outcomes in today’s changed economic environment.

For the class of 2019, the aggregated school data shows that 80.6% of the 2019 graduates of the 198 law schools enrolling students and approved by the ABA to offer the J.D. degree were employed in full-time, long-term Bar Passage Required or J.D. Advantage jobs roughly 10 months after graduation. That compares to 77.7% of the graduates reporting similar full-time, long-term jobs last year.

The higher percentage of students so employed, however, results from both a modest increase in the number of jobs and an approximately 0.8 percent decrease in the size of the graduating class. The actual number of full-time, long-term Bar Passage Required or J.D. Advantage jobs increased by 751 (2.82%) year-over-year, going from 26,601 in 2018 to 27,352 in 2019.

The ABA’s accrediting body, under Standard 509 of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools, requires schools to report to the ABA and publicly disclose varied information, including employment outcomes. Employment and other statistics are posted to the section’s statistics website. Earlier this year, the section released both individual school and aggregate bar passage statistics.

The Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is 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, and the section and its governing council operate for accreditation purposes as independent arms of the ABA.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers 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.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews