Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ben Barros: Reconsidering the Conventional Wisdom on the Legal Job Market

Professor Ben Barros is starting a series of posts on reconsidering the conventional wisdom on the legal job market on the Faculty Lounge, using his law school, Widener-Harrisburg, as the study sample.  You can find the entire series here.

In his first post, Professor Barros reconsidered the conventional wisdom that "recent graduates are getting law jobs at distressingly low levels."  This wisdom is based on the claim that "The nine month data show that only X% of graduates of a particular class got legal jobs.  Therefore, only X% of that class ever got legal jobs."  The problem with this assumption should be obvious.  Professor Barros declared, "Nine month data, however, simply does not tell the whole story of the employment outcomes for any particular graduating class.  The timing of the bar exam is part of the story here.  So is, I think, the economy."  His conclusion was "that many of my former students were getting good jobs, but it was taking some of them longer than it had in the past to get these jobs because of the poor economy."

An interesting point.  Are most law school graduates who do not have a job nine months after graduation among the long-term unemployed, or, as Barros's study suggests, are they just taking longer to obtain jobs.  If Barros is correct, then it will affect how we deal with the law school graduate employment problem.

(Scott Fruehwald)


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