Study Shows Recent Law School Graduate Employment Better Than Expected
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August 13, 2012 – The Thomas M. Cooley Law School today announced results from a study of the national employment market for recent graduates of the nation's ABA-accredited law schools who are about to enter the job market. Drawing on the most recent data available from the National Association for Law Placement ("NALP"), the report concludes that, contrary to the perception advanced by certain media and blogs, the employment rate is very good for law school graduates. (Note that 2011 NALP report data has not been released publicly. We will update the report for 2011 once the data is public.)
NALP's data establishes that the unemployment rate for 2010 law school graduates who sought to enter the job market was 6.2 percent, and that these graduates overwhelmingly obtained full-time professional employment.
NALP's data next shows that, while the job market is more challenging now than three years ago, within nine months of graduation around 90.5 percent of the newly-minted lawyers either found employment or entered graduate school. Of this employed group, 96.7 percent of them reported having found professional employment, and 90.2 percent of those professional positions were full time.
Finally, the report explains why the employment data used by NALP to establish employment and unemployment rates among recent graduates is both accurate and reliable.
The school decided to release the study in a series of separate reports in order to insert the nation's most authoritative data into the public dialogue about the national legal employment picture. Report One, which covers the national employment data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, established that employment for lawyers grew during the past decade, even during the recession, and that the environment in the legal profession that awaits law school graduates reflects relatively full employment, particularly in comparison to other professional and management occupations. Report Two puts into perspective public discussion about the employment outlook for recent law school graduates by showing the data in a 10-year context.
'Reports One and Two contradict the assertions that are widespread on blogs and in a segment of the media regarding the employment situation for lawyers, refuting the notion that unemployment among current lawyers and law school graduates is high," said Cooley President and Dean Don LeDuc. "Looking at the data in this context highlights the invalid assumptions and faulty logic in the arguments used by the critics and shows that their conclusions are inaccurate and misleading. Rather, the facts overwhelmingly discredit these assertions," he said. "Legal education is actually one of the best choices for a career."
Executive summaries as well as the full text of Reports One and Two can be accessed at www.cooley.edu/reports.
About Cooley Law School: Founded in 1972, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School is a private, nonprofit, independent law school accredited by the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission. Cooley has provided its more than 16,000 graduates with the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world. Cooley offers its Juris Doctor program, Joint Degree programs, and Master of Laws programs three times a year with enrollment in January, May and September. Cooley Law School has campuses across Michigan in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor, and its new campus in Tampa Bay, Florida.