Employment stats for US graduates are looking up

March 17, 2011 Employment statistics for entry level lawyers rose slightly in 2010, after dropping for two consecutuve years. The National Association of Law Placement says that hiring has not returned to pre-recession levels, but noted a significant rebound in the full-time job offer rate for summer programs interns, which went from 89.9 per cent in 2008 down to 69.3 per cent in 2009, and back up to 87.4 per cent in 2010.
Recruitment for 2011 summer intern programs also increased, with the median number of offers rising 9, up from an all-time low of 7 in 2009. This compares with medians of 10 in 2008 and 15 in 2007.

“These numbers describe a soft bounce in the market,” NALP executive director James Leipold said. “Clearly, from a recruiting perspective, the most dramatic impact of the economic downturn has passed, and law firms are beginning to return to the market for new law school graduates with more confidence than they had at the height of the recession. But it is important to keep these numbers in perspective.

“The recovery we are seeing in the legal economy is nascent, and the jump in recruiting levels is small. Most of the data collected through our fall recruiting surveys document recruiting levels that are still well below the recruitment levels measured prior to the recession. My expectation is that this slow growth in entry-level recruitment activity will continue, but it will be some years yet before we see a return to the sort of robust recruiting levels we saw in 2006 and 2007. And as for summer associate class size, we may never see those numbers return to what they were before the recession.”

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