Occasionally, to me, at least, the facts and figures about law school enrollment and employment outcomes tend to blur. So I created a visualization of the current situation.
The top light blue slashed bars represent the total applicants to law school in that applicant cycle. For example, for the Class of 2011, there were around 82,000 applicants in the 2007-2008 cycle.
The dark blue slashed bars represent the total matriculants to law schools each year. For example, for the Class of 2011, there were around 49,400 matriculants beginning law school in the fall of 2008.
The five solid bars underneath represent the employment statistics of that year's graduating class, as reported in the employment data 9 months from graduation. For the Class of 2011, there were 43,735 graduates whose employment was reported as of February 15, 2012.
(The margin between matriculants and graduates reflects a few losses. First, I removed graduate statistics of the three schools in Puerto Rico, which amount to a few hundred graduates each year. Second, those who dropped out, or who were dismissed, are not included among graduates. Third, there's some lag in data for students in joint-degree or part-time programs, and they would not be included in data for matriculants three years after entering a program.)
The red solid bars represent unemployed (whether seeking or not seeking employment) and those whose employment status is unknown.
The orange bars represent part-time employed, short-term employed, any employed in professional or nonprofessional positions, those whose employer is unknown, and those pursuing an additional degree.
The light green bars represent those in full-time, long-term, JD advantage positions, whether funded by the school or not.
The medium green bars represent those in full-time, long-term, bar passage required positions funded by the school. (The ABA data for the Class of 2011 does not separately break out this data.)
The dark green bars represent those in full-time, long-term, bar passage required positions not funded by the school.
Applicants for the Class of 2017 are estimated using the most recent LSAC data.