News release: “According to Selected Findings from the Employment Report and Salary Survey for the Class of 2011 released today by NALP, the overall employment rate for new law school graduates is, at 85.6%, the lowest it has been since 1994, when the rate stood at 84.7%. In addition to an overall employment rate that fell two percentage points from that for the previous class, and that has dropped each year since 2008, the Class of 2011 employment figures reveal a job market with many underlying structural weaknesses. The employment profile for this class also marks a continued interruption of employment patterns for new law school graduates that had, prior to 2010, been undisturbed for decades. The NALP Employment Report and Salary Survey for the Class of 2011 measures the employment rate of graduates as of February 15, 2012, or nine months after a typical May graduation. Analyses of these data reveal an employment rate that has fallen more than six percentage points since reaching a 23-year high of 91.9% in 2007 and marks the lowest employment rate since the aftermath of the last significant recession to affect the U.S. legal economy. The Class of 1994 was the last class with an employment rate lower than that for the Class of 2011, and since 1985 there have only been three classes with an overall employment rate below 85.6%. All of those occurred in the aftermath of the 1990-1991 recession: 83.5% for 1992, 83.4% for 1993, and 84.7% for 1994. (For information on trends in graduate employment going back to 1985, see here.)
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