Overall legal employment for the Class of 2018 improved somewhat

Despite poor, and in some cases declining, bar passage rates in many jurisdictions over the last four years, we’ve seen steady overall improvement in the market for law school graduates, and the Class of 2018 is no exception. All trends are fairly positive, even if small, and even if some of those are driven by shrinking class sizes. Below are figures for the ABA-disclosed data (excluding Puerto Rico’s three law schools).

  Graduates FTLT BPR Placement FTLT JDA
Class of 2012 45,751 25,503 55.7% 4,218
Class of 2013 46,112 25,787 55.9% 4,550
Class of 2014 43,195 25,348 58.7% 4,774
Class of 2015 40,205 23,895 59.4% 4,416
Class of 2016 36,654 22,874 62.4% 3,948
Class of 2017 34,428 23,078 67.0% 3,121
Class of 2018 33,633 23,314 69.3% 3,123

Placement in bar passage-required jobs continued to improve, and graduates shrank. That put placement in full-time, long-term, bar passage-required jobs up to 69.3% (excluding school-funded positions). Unlike recent years, we also saw a small increase in J.D.-advantage position placement.

We can also compare the Class of 2018 to the Class of 2013—a recent high-water mark in total graduates and bar passage-required jobs (even if the percentage placed in those jobs was relatively low). We can look at placement by firm size, and by industry.

FTLT Class of 2013 Class of 2018 Net Delta
Solo 926 313 -613 -66.2%
2-10 6,947 4,999 -1948 -28.0%
11-25 1,842 1,689 -153 -8.3%
26-50 1,045 1,020 -25 -2.4%
51-100 846 821 -25 -3.0%
101-205 1,027 1,002 -25 -2.4%
251-500 1,041 949 -92 -8.8%
501+ 3,978 4,749 771 19.4%
Business/Industry 5,494 3,085 -2409 -43.8%
Government 4,360 3,860 -500 -11.5%
Public Interest 1,665 1,504 -161 -9.7%
Federal Clerk 1,259 1,174 -85 -6.8%
State Clerk 2,043 2,075 32 1.6%
Academia/Education 490 302 -188 -38.4%

The sharp demise of sole practitioners and small law firm placement is significant. Last year, I noted that placement in these positions might be the most at-risk when bar passage rates decline. Also of note is the decline in “business” jobs, which were typically J.D.-advantage positions and less desirable for graduates. Note, too, the continued rise of big law jobs—up nearly 800 placements since the Class of 2013. There had been some speculation during the recession that those jobs might be disappearing and that alternative positions would be needed for future classes, but this seems to be the healthiest market.

We can also compare the year-over-year placement in these job types, which are perhaps more volatile but still illuminating.

FTLT Class of 2017 Class of 2018 Net Delta
Solo 392 313 -79 -20.2%
2-10 5,145 4,999 -146 -2.8%
11-25 1,628 1,689 61 3.7%
26-50 953 1,020 67 7.0%
51-100 779 821 42 5.4%
101-205 956 1,002 46 4.8%
251-500 983 949 -34 -3.5%
501+ 4,569 4,749 180 3.9%
Business/Industry 3,241 3,085 -156 -4.8%
Government 3,812 3,860 48 1.3%
Public Interest 1,419 1,504 85 6.0%
Federal Clerk 1,151 1,174 23 2.0%
State Clerk 1,984 2,075 91 4.6%
Education 303 302 -1 -0.3%

Even year over year, we saw placement in large firms increase 180 positions, while solo and firms of 10 or fewer attorneys decline by over 220 positions.

Visualizing legal employment outcomes in California in 2018

This is the eighth and final in a series of visualizations on legal employment outcomes for the Class of 2018. Following posts on outcomes in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Florida, DC-Maryland-Virginia, and New York, here is a visualization for legal employment outcomes of graduates of law schools in California for the Class of 2018. (More about the methodology is available at the Illinois post.) Last year's California post is here.

Please note, of course, that “J.D.-advantage” jobs may differ significantly from school to school, which may alter how one views the “overall” rate. (USNWR treats them as equivalent, but there are good reasons to think they may not be equivalent; and here, there are significant disparities among some schools and their J.D.-advantage placement.) And recall that I sort the table below to include school-funded positions, while the chart only includes unfunded positions. (It’s a reason I try to display the information in different ways!) The California market presented a mixed but somewhat positive picture. The closure of Whittier meant I removed it from the chart. Comparing all other schools year-to-year, graduates increased slightly from 3761 to 3804. And bar passage-required jobs increased slightly, too, from 2353 to 2405. But J.D. advantage jobs climbed at a faster rate, from 322 to 354, and school funded positions increased slightly. Placement among these schools rose from 73.3% to 74.9% in all positions.

As always, please notify me of any corrections or errata.

Peer Score School 2018 YoY% BPR JDA LSF Grads 2017 BPR JDA LSF Grads
4.9 Stanford University 96.9% 3.0 165 12 10 193 93.9% 163 15 7 197
4.4 University of California-Berkeley 95.8% 1.0 276 4 16 309 94.8% 269 6 14 305
4.1 University of California-Los Angeles 92.5% 0.0 257 19 20 320 92.5% 283 17 31 358
3.7 University of Southern California 87.3% -2.6 162 11 6 205 90.0% 179 4 5 209
3.5 University of California-Irvine 86.8% 0.4 85 3 11 114 86.5% 72 4 7 96
3.4 University of California-Davis 86.4% 2.0 135 8 10 177 84.4% 119 10 12 167
2.7 Loyola Law School-Los Angeles 85.7% 6.1 213 24 3 280 79.6% 204 31 3 299
3.1 University of California-Hastings 78.7% 11.2 178 28 12 277 67.5% 166 22 1 280
2.7 Pepperdine University 78.6% 2.8 114 18 0 168 75.8% 134 34 1 223
1.9 Chapman University 73.9% 5.6 75 24 0 134 68.2% 81 20 0 148
2.7 University of San Diego 72.3% 4.7 172 19 0 264 67.6% 121 17 0 204
2.5 Santa Clara University 68.7% 4.7 127 22 0 217 64.0% 77 10 0 136
1.9 McGeorge School of Law 63.9% 4.8 66 19 0 133 59.1% 62 16 0 132
1.8 Southwestern Law School 63.2% 4.6 128 39 1 266 58.6% 124 43 0 285
1.5 California Western School of Law 61.1% -3.3 86 32 0 193 64.5% 106 21 0 197
1.1 Western State College of Law 57.0% 4.9 49 8 0 100 52.1% 32 6 0 73
1.5 Golden Gate University 48.2% -3.5 27 11 2 83 51.7% 33 11 1 87
1.9 University of San Francisco 45.0% -15.8 49 26 1 169 60.8% 75 18 0 153
1.2 University of La Verne 43.1% 6.3 13 12 0 58 36.8% 12 2 0 38
nr Thomas Jefferson School of Law 29.9% -2.3 28 15 0 144 32.2% 41 15 0 174

Visualizing legal employment outcomes in New York in 2018

This is the seventh in a series of visualizations on legal employment outcomes for the Class of 2018. Following posts on outcomes in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Florida, and DC-Maryland-Virginia, here is a visualization for legal employment outcomes of graduates of law schools in New York for the Class of 2018. (More about the methodology is available at the Illinois post.) Last year's New York post is here.

Please note, of course, that “J.D.-advantage” jobs may differ significantly from school to school, which may alter how one views the “overall” rate. (USNWR treats them as equivalent, but there are good reasons to think they may not be equivalent; and here, there are significant disparities among some schools and their J.D.-advantage placement.) And recall that I sort the table below to include school-funded positions, while the chart only includes unfunded positions. (It’s a reason I try to display the information in different ways!) The market showed improvement for the Class of 2018. Bar passage-required jobs rose from 2786 to 2882; J.D.-advantage rose slightly and school funded positions fell slightly. And while total graduates increased slightly to 3689, the improvement in bar passage-required positions helped increase placement from 84.5% to 86.1%.

As always, please notify me of any corrections or errata.

Peer score School 2018 YoY% BPR JDA LSF Grads 2017 BPR JDA LSF Grads
4.6 New York University 96.7% -0.4 411 3 29 458 97.1% 429 11 30 484
4.7 Columbia University 96.4% 0.1 420 8 5 449 96.3% 401 2 13 432
4.3 Cornell University 93.4% -0.2 178 4 1 196 93.6% 186 2 1 202
2.3 St. John's University 91.6% 9.8 186 21 0 226 81.8% 154 21 0 214
3.3 Fordham University 88.4% 10.8 302 24 2 371 77.7% 245 23 3 349
2.8 Cardozo School of Law 84.9% -2.1 207 23 1 272 87.0% 234 20 0 292
2.2 Hofstra University 82.4% 1.4 186 11 0 239 81.0% 180 12 0 237
1.9 New York Law School 81.0% 6.7 167 52 2 273 74.3% 123 56 0 241
2.6 Brooklyn Law School 80.5% 0.3 245 48 0 364 80.2% 264 31 0 368
1.9 Pace University 79.5% -5.2 118 14 0 166 84.7% 127 17 0 170
2.0 Albany Law School 79.0% -1.0 86 8 0 119 80.0% 78 10 0 110
2.2 University of Buffalo-SUNY 78.1% 7.0 101 13 0 146 71.1% 93 15 0 152
2.3 Syracuse University 76.3% -2.9 116 16 0 173 79.2% 103 15 0 149
2.2 City University of New York 74.0% 2.7 64 7 0 96 71.3% 65 2 0 94
1.5 Touro College 70.2% -5.0 95 4 0 141 75.2% 104 11 0 153

Visualizing legal employment outcomes in DC-Maryland-Virginia in 2018

This is the sixth in a series of visualizations on legal employment outcomes for the Class of 2018. Following posts on outcomes in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, and Florida, here is a visualization for legal employment outcomes of graduates of law schools in Washington, DC; Maryland; and Virginia for the Class of 2018. (More about the methodology is available at the Illinois post.) Last year's DC-Maryland-Virginia post is here.

Please note, of course, that “J.D.-advantage” jobs may differ significantly from school to school, which may alter how one views the “overall” rate. And recall that I sort the table below to include school-funded positions, while the chart only includes unfunded positions. (It’s a reason I try to display the information in different ways!) The market showed improvement for the Class of 2018. Bar passage-required jobs rose from 2318 to 2367; J.D.-advantage and school funded positions both fell slightly. There were more than 100 fewer graduates in this class, helping raise the overal employment rate from 80.3% to 83.9%. (Of note are four schools with fewer than 70 graduates each.)

As always, please notify me of any corrections or errata.

Peer score School 2018 YoY% BPR JDA LSF Grads 2017 BPR JDA LSF Grads
4.4 University of Virginia 97.7% 1.0 277 3 12 299 96.6% 271 7 8 296
4.2 Georgetown University 91.2% 2.2 532 28 33 650 89.0% 504 40 40 656
3 University of Maryland 88.9% 11.1 138 37 1 198 77.8% 108 36 3 189
3.3 William & Mary Law School 88.2% 7.5 149 16 0 187 80.8% 158 10 0 208
3.2 Washington & Lee University 87.6% 3.8 98 1 0 113 83.8% 79 4 0 99
3.5 George Washington University 84.0% 1.4 376 58 3 520 82.6% 422 69 9 605
2.7 George Mason University 83.9% 3.0 90 22 3 137 80.9% 92 26 5 152
2.7 University of Richmond 81.2% -0.7 118 29 0 181 81.9% 101 21 0 149
1.2 Liberty University 80.0% 11.0 32 4 0 45 69.0% 37 3 0 58
1.2 Regent University 77.3% 2.9 45 5 1 66 74.4% 46 10 2 78
2.1 University of Baltimore 77.0% 4.2 136 21 0 204 72.8% 136 27 0 224
2.6 Howard University 73.7% 3.8 80 17 1 133 69.9% 65 6 1 103
2.8 American University 73.6% 5.6 201 69 3 371 68.0% 197 56 0 372
1.5 District of Columbia 70.1% 4.0 26 20 1 67 66.2% 19 27 1 71
2.1 Catholic University of America 68.0% 4.1 56 10 0 97 64.0% 61 10 0 111
1.2 Appalachian School of Law 51.7% -7.8 13 2 0 29 59.5% 22 3 0 42

Visualizing legal employment outcomes in Florida in 2018

This is the fifth in a series of visualizations on legal employment outcomes for the Class of 2018. Following posts on outcomes in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Ohio, here is a visualization for legal employment outcomes of graduates of Florida law schools for the Class of 2018. (More about the methodology is available at the Illinois post.) Last year's Florida post is here.

The Florida report is one of the most positive employment reports so far. Total bar passage-require jobs rose significantly, from 1364 in 2017 to 1430 in 2018. A small uptick in J.D.-advantage placement and a small drop in total graduates resulted in an improvement for placement from 69.8% to 74.5%, which brings placement more in line with others states.

As always, please notify me of any corrections or errata.

Peer Score School 2018 YoY% BPR JDA LSF Grads 2017 BPR JDA LSF Grads
3.3 University of Florida 88.4% 2.0 258 24 1 320 86.4% 246 33 1 324
3.1 Florida State University 85.8% 5.5 150 18 1 197 80.3% 150 21 0 213
2.8 University of Miami 84.3% 1.6 249 36 0 338 82.7% 195 20 0 260
2.1 Stetson University 83.3% 6.1 168 21 0 227 77.2% 167 36 0 263
2.1 Florida International University 82.9% 2.2 109 12 0 146 80.6% 112 13 0 155
1.2 Barry University 67.9% 6.2 91 38 0 190 61.7% 75 25 0 162
1.2 Ave Maria School of Law 65.7% 16.3 39 7 0 70 49.4% 32 8 0 81
1.5 St. Thomas University 64.3% 5.7 111 6 0 182 58.6% 99 7 0 181
1.2 Florida Coastal School of Law 60.8% 14.1 94 19 0 186 46.6% 97 14 0 238
1.6 Nova Southeastern University 57.5% -4.9 109 17 0 219 62.4% 129 12 0 226
1.5 Florida A&M University 50.4% -1.5 52 14 0 131 51.9% 62 7 0 133

Visualizing legal employment outcomes in Ohio in 2018

This is the fourth in a series of visualizations on legal employment outcomes for the Class of 2018. Following posts on outcomes in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas, here is a visualization for legal employment outcomes of graduates of Ohio law schools for the Class of 2018. (More about the methodology is available at the Illinois post.) Last year's Ohio post is here.

Total jobs, including bar passage-required jobs, worsened slightly. Those bar passage-required jobs dropped from 584 to 571. But total graduates continued to tumble, from 951 to 888, leaving overall placement up a few points, from 72.8% to 76%. Remarkably, Ohio still has nine law schools, but five of them graduated fewer than 100 students, and sixth graduated just 101.

As always, please notify me of any corrections or errata.

Peer Score School 2018 YoY% BPR JDA LSF Grads 2017 BPR JDA LSF Grads
3.3 Ohio State University 89.9% 1.4 134 14 3 168 88.5% 126 16 4 165
1.8 Cleveland-Marshall College of Law 81.8% 16.9 65 7 0 88 65.0% 61 15 0 117
2.4 University of Cincinnati 80.0% 0.0 58 14 0 90 80.0% 53 3 0 70
1.7 University of Dayton 75.6% 13.1 46 13 0 78 62.5% 48 12 0 96
1.9 University of Toledo 74.1% 4.4 31 12 0 58 69.7% 42 11 0 76
2.6 Case Western Reserve University 73.0% 2.0 83 9 0 126 71.0% 83 15 0 138
1.8 University of Akron 70.0% -1.7 65 19 0 120 71.7% 71 15 0 120
1.5 Ohio Northern University 67.8% -9.1 34 6 0 59 76.9% 37 3 0 52
1.4 Capital University 61.4% -4.4 55 7 0 101 65.8% 63 14 0 117

Visualizing legal employment outcomes in Texas in 2018

This is the third in a series of visualizations on legal employment outcomes for the Class of 2018. Following posts on outcomes in Illinois and Pennsylvania, here is a visualization for legal employment outcomes of graduates of Texas law schools for the Class of 2018. (More about the methodology is available at the Illinois post.) Last year's Texas post is here.

Total jobs improved notably in bar passage required jobs, from 1321 to 1366. J.D.-advantage jobs declined. Total graduates increased to 1979, up from 1959. Placement improved from 75.8% to 76.3%.

As always, please notify me of any corrections or errata.

Peer Score School 2018 YoY% BPR JDA LSF Grads 2017 BPR JDA LSF Grads
4.1 University of Texas-Austin 92.8% 6.0 238 15 6 279 86.9% 259 18 7 327
2.4 Baylor University 89.0% 2.8 100 5 0 118 86.2% 107 4 1 130
2.7 Southern Methodist University 87.1% 4.0 192 17 0 240 83.1% 179 17 0 236
1.9 Texas Tech University 85.8% 7.6 125 8 0 155 78.2% 137 17 0 197
2.7 University of Houston 85.4% 7.9 171 22 0 226 77.5% 153 26 0 231
2.4 Texas A&M University 81.9% 7.6 93 20 0 138 74.3% 118 18 0 183
1.6 South Texas College of Law Houston 67.8% 6.0 160 24 1 273 61.7% 157 27 0 298
1.6 St. Mary's University 62.5% -8.4 129 11 0 224 70.9% 118 20 1 196
nr University of North Texas Dallas 57.9% 6.4 76 8 0 145 51.5% 17 0 0 33
1.4 Texas Southern University 48.6% -17.0 82 6 0 181 65.6% 76 8 0 128

Visualizing legal employment outcomes in Pennsylvania in 2018

This is the second in a series of visualizations on legal employment outcomes for the Class of 2018. Following a post on outcomes in Illinois, here is a visualization for legal employment outcomes of graduates of Pennsylvania law schools for the Class of 2018. (More about the methodology is available at the Illinois post.) Last year's Pennsylvania post is here.

Total graduates were down slightly year-over-year, and the job picture improved a little, with 84.4% employed in bar passage required and J.D. advantage positions, including 11 school-funded positions. Total placement fell slightly, so the improvement is attributable to the slightly smaller number of graduates, from 1256 to 1238.

As always, please notify me of any corrections or errata. UPDATE: Duquesne’s employment data was accidentally overstated in an earlier post and has been edited to present the accurate data.

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Peer Score School 2018 YoY% BPR JDA LSF Grads 2017 BPR JDA LSF Grads
4.4 University of Pennsylvania 97.9% -0.9 216 12 10 243 98.8% 232 16 5 256
2.5 Villanova University 88.2% 5.8 127 15 0 161 82.4% 120 11 0 159
2.2 Pennsylvania State - Dickinson Law 87.3% 8.6 51 4 0 63 78.7% 41 7 0 61
2.1 Drexel University 83.7% 2.3 95 13 0 129 81.5% 88 13 0 124
2.7 Temple University 83.3% -3.4 161 13 0 209 86.6% 172 15 1 217
1.8 Duquesne University 80.0% 0.6 86 13 0 120 79.4% 80 20 0 126
2.3 Penn State Law 80.0% 1.9 86 13 1 125 78.1% 82 7 0 114
2.7 University of Pittsburgh 71.9% -5.7 85 12 0 135 77.5% 87 20 0 138
1.7 Widener Commonwealth 62.3% -4.9 32 1 0 53 67.2% 36 5 0 61