A few years ago, I used employment projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to project the number of job openings for licensed lawyers during the current decade. At the time, BLS was the best available source for that type of projection; it remains a useful resource today. The BLS makes these predictions precisely to help workers, employers, and policymakers understand the likely demand for workers in particular occupations.
Why should law schools care about these predictions? As Michael Simkovic and Frank McIntyre show in two recent papers, a JD historically has conferred financial advantage (compared to entering the workforce with just a BA) even if graduates did not work as practicing lawyers. If law graduates reap financial returns from their degrees, regardless of the jobs they take, does it matter how many jobs they find as practicing lawyers?