ABA Employment Stats: Class of 2015

May 2nd, 2016 / By

Updated at 8:30 p.m. to reflect several changes*

The ABA has just released employment statistics for the Class of 2015. As Jerry Organ speculated over the weekend, the report is decidedly mixed. The percentage of graduates holding full-time, long-term jobs requiring bar passage edged up slightly, from 59.9% in 2014 to 60.3% in 2015.

This small increase, however, resulted from the drop in the number of graduates–rather than from any increase in available jobs. Graduates fell 9.2% between the two years, from 43,832 in 2014 to 39,817 in 2015. The actual number of FTLT bar-required jobs also fell, from 26,248 in 2014 to 23,993 in 2015. That’s a hefty decline of 2,255 jobs or 8.6%.

These figures encompass all ABA-accredited law schools, including the three Puerto Rico schools. For this initial comparison, I also counted school-funded jobs. In later analyses, I will break those out.

I will have updates on these figures as I work more with the ABA spreadsheet. The results, however, are not the good news that law schools were hoping to hear. Nor are prospective students likely to greet these figures as heralding a surge in the legal employment market. This summer would be a good time to reflect further on challenges and opportunities for law schools; I hope to contribute to that discussion.

* This year’s ABA spreadsheet includes several hidden columns, which affected some of my earlier calculations. The gist hasn’t changed, but the numbers have shifted slightly.


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