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Every year, NALP pulls the employment and salary statistics of law school graduates -- these are the most important developments this year.

By Ben Feuer

NALP's selected findings for the class of 2013 have been released, and they provide some fascinating insights on current trends in the overall law school community.  Bear in mind that this is broadly targeted information -- at your particular school, mileage may vary -- sometimes a lot.  Still, certain overall trends are easy to spot.

1.  2008 is not coming back.  If your interest in the legal profession is based solely, or even primarily, on the pre-crash salaries at big law firms, choose another line of work.  Like almost every field in this country, law is becoming more entrepreneurial and there is less tolerance for baby lawyers learning on big law salaries.

2.  Graduating classes are going to shrink.  Partly because of decreasing demand, law schools intend to cut their class sizes by 30% over three years.  This is a smart, responsible move on their part, but it will make top law schools more competitive for prospective students.

3.  Lawyer/entrepreneurs are on the rise.  There have always been a certain number of lawyers hanging out their own shingle after graduating law school, but that number is on the rise, and now stands at 4.8 percent for law jobs.  This is a good potential option for recent graduates seeking opportunities in the field.  On a related note, the percentage of lawyers employed in business has risen to 18.4 percent, an all time high.

4.  Academic jobs are rare -- and often part time.  Although "Law School Professor" is definitely a great gig, it is also very hard to come by.  Only 2.6 percent of all legal jobs were in academia in 2013, and of those, 39 percent were part time (read: adjunct).

5.  This is still a great field.  Overall unemployment for law school graduates stands at 12.9 percent.  High?  Yeah.  But the opportunities accrue disproportionately at the top end, and law is a very hierarchical field.  What does that mean?  It means that if you are a top student throughout school, law can provide you with a stable and lucrative career, which is more than can be said for many other degrees.


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