A new study (the full report won’t be published until September 15) from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) shows the overall employment rate for the Class of 2016 increased to 87.5% from 86.7% for the Class of 2015. It represents the third consecutive year of overall employment rate growth since the Class of 2013 recorded a post-recession low of 84.5%.
While this news may appear to be quite optimistic, we’d like to point out that the number of law school graduate jobs simply hasn’t decreased as much as the number of law school graduates. With the important exception of firms with over 500 lawyers, jobs from every other sector declined for the second consecutive year. (The number of job offers from the largest law firms grew to 4,238 from 4,007 the previous year.)
The mean salary for the Class of 2016 rose 7.2% to $90,305 which is largely due to the $180,000 starting salaries now being offered at many of the “Big Law” firms. (Which are generally defined as those law firms with more than 500 lawyers.)
While happiness and career satisfaction are very important considerations, we understand many of you are looking critically at the law school ROI. If projected ROI is going to factor heavily into your decision, we strongly encourage you to work extra hard to seek admission to the top law schools where the chances of landing a “Big Law” offer or even a judicial clerkship which, more often than not, tends to be a ticket to a lucrative Big Law firm afterward.