One third of last year’s law school grads aren’t practicing law

Liz Goodwin
June 2, 2011

The law school class of 2010 is making news for all the wrong reasons. The budding legal minds who managed to find employment last year have set a new record--only 68.4 percent of them are in jobs that require them to pass the bar exam, the lowest share since the Association for Legal Professionals began collecting data.

Another 10.7 percent of the class of 2010 are in jobs that require or prefer a J.D., while 8.6 percent have jobs that require neither a law degree nor bar passage. The class' overall employment rate--for jobs in and out of the legal profession--is lower than it's been for any class since 1996, at 87.6 percent. So counting unemployed new graduates, the actual percentage of those in jobs that require bar passage is even lower, at 60 percent.

In 2009, almost 30 percent of law students said they expected to graduate with more than $120,000 in debt. Another 15 percent said they would owe more than $100,000.

(Stock photo of lawyerly types: ThinkStock)