Phila law grads face grim employment picture…but better than national average

The job market is still rough for local law graduates, according to new American Bar Association data.

Phil Blumenthal of the Philadelphia Business Journal reports that of the 1,487 people who graduated from one of the six local law schools in 2013, just 61.6 percent have full-time, long-term jobs that require bar passage. While that number is disappointing, it remains above the national average of 57 percent (up from 56 percent for 2012 graduates).

So, if you are one of the newly minted attorneys who have amassed over $100,000 in educational debt, what will you be doing next year?

Penn Law boosted local numbers because 90 percent of grad had jobs when the data was recorded on Feb. 15, and the numbers fall drastically from there with Rutgers Camden (63 percent), Temple Law (60 percent), Villanova Law (54 percent), Drexel (50 percent) and Widener (47 percent).

Local legal unemployment in Phila and suburbs also remains high. The number of local unemployed law graduates still seeking jobs as of February was 11 percent, down slightly from 12 percent for 2012 graduates this time last year.

Nationally, the ABA reports that the percentage of 2013 graduates unemployed and seeking work rose slightly to 11.2 percent this year from 10.6 percent last year.

One issue is that the 2013 graduating class of 46, 776 is the largest number ever, eclipsing last year’s total of 46, 364. A still-slow job market coupled with the two largest graduating classes in history is no doubt a recipe for legal employment disaster, but this will be adjusted in the future by the significant drop in law firm applications. Long time to wait…



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