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July 22, 2010 10:48 AM

More NALP Numbers Show a Frozen Job Market

Posted by Zach Lowe

NALPSalaries In May the National Association for Law Placement released its annual employment statistics for the class of 2009, and they were predictably depressing. About 88 percent of graduates had some sort of job, and that represented the lowest figure on NALP's record since the mid-1990s. But NALP acknowledged that the 88 percent figure was misleading, since a much higher-than-normal number of graduates had temporary jobs, many of which their own law schools had created in order to give them something to do.

Today, NALP released an addendum to that report that focuses on salaries and the distribution of jobs in various market sectors, and the results once again aren't surprising. Salaries in both private and public sector jobs remained flat, and the nationwide mean salary--about $93,000--remains an illusory figure. The salary curve looks the same as it has over the last several years, and you can surely picture it in your head without looking--a large peak around the $45,000 to $50,000 range with an even larger one around $160,000 and almost nothing in between. Few lawyers make a salary anywhere near the "mean," NALP reports.

One new wrinkle: NALP is creating an "adjusted" mean to reflect the lack of public knowledge of salaries at small firms, which are lower than salaries at The Am Law 200. The new adjusted mean comes in around $85,000.

The distribution of jobs has also remained about the same, with 56 percent of graduates going to private firms, 26 percent to public jobs, and about 13.5 percent in-house at companies. The only significant change: a jump in the number of graduates employed in academia, which reflects those recently created postgrad jobs we mentioned before.

You can read the full report, which includes information on gender, race and other variables, at this link.


Illustration: Getty Images

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