Legal Job Market 2020 | Current Legal Market

Legal Job Market 2020 | Current Legal Market


Legal Job Market 2020 | Current Legal Market Current Legal Market– I’ve been getting a lot of questions aboutthe legal job market in 2019, 2020. People who are wondering if they should enrollin law school, people who are in law school wondering if they’ll be able to get a jobwhen they graduate, and people who are already working, to see if they will be able to lateralover to a new position. Especially now, where there’s talk of a potential2020 recession, there is a lot of outsourcing by law firms to ALSPs, or alternative legalservice providers, and a lot of corporations are bringing in-house matters that they wouldotherwise have outsourced to law firms. So there’s a lot of change going on, and whatdoes this all mean for the current and future legal markets? Well, if you’re excited and interested tofind out, go ahead and hit that like button and let’s get started. Angela Vorpahl:

Current Legal Market

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The first thing you have toknow is how many jobs are out there, what is the growth of the legal market? Just to put things into perspective, backwhen the 2008 recession happened, or I guess I should say before the 2008 recession happened,law firms were growing at multiples of the U.S. GDP, so multiples of the growth of thelarger U.S. economy. That’s what, well, at least what we referto it as the golden era. You had law firms making a ton of money, youhad law firms as a result hiring a bunch of associates, and those were the days of thecrazy, insane summer clerkships where you would have these elaborate dinners and lunchesand events, and even international travel. Angela Vorpahl: Since that hit, of coursethe legal market took a plunge just like most markets did, and the legal market has beengrowing ever since then, year after year, just at a much smaller rate. Instead of multiples of GDP, it’s been trackingthe U.S. GDP, which is about a growth of 1 to 3% a year, which is about the same as mostoccupations. So that’s a good thing. But an even better thing is what we’ve seenin 2018. There’s been a big growth in 2018, law firmrevenue is up, hiring is up. Based on the latest statistics we have, thejob market and the legal market are very strong right now.

Legal Job Market 2020 | Current Legal Market

In order to know this, you have to look atthe enrollment statistics for law schools. Historically, over the last 40 or so years,the average number of law students per year enrolling in law school is around 40,000. Right now we’re at a bit of an uptick fromthe previous year. In 2017 there were about 38,000 new enrolleesand in 2018 there are about 39,000 new enrollees. It’s a bit of an uptick, but still withinthe historical average. Angela Vorpahl: Then of course the most importantquestion, are there more lawyers than there are legal jobs available? One of the most insightful data points, themost helpful data points for this are the employment statistics for graduates comingout of law school. The ABA actually requires all 201 law schoolsto publish this information. Just as an aside, that definition of employedis full-time, longterm employment in a job that requires a JD or bar passage within 10months of graduating. Angela Vorpahl: The good news is that thegraduating class of 2018, which is the latest data available, has entered into these strongestlegal job market in a decade, with 78.6% of the graduating law students finding full-timeJD jobs within 10 months of graduating. Angela Vorpahl: The just be careful news isthat there was an uptick in legal job growth in 2018,


so there were more jobs available. There was also a bit of a dip in law schoolenrollment in 2015 when these recent graduates would have started law school, so there wasa little bit less competition. The other thing to keep in mind is that lawschool graduation and employment statistics do vary widely by law school. So I’m going to link below a list of 201 lawschool employment graduation statistics so you guys can compare and contrast either thelaw school where you currently are or the law school you might be considering applyingto, so that you can see how the statistics match up against one another. Angela Vorpahl: The last thing I want to leaveyou guys with is this idea of a potential possible economic recession in 2020, becauseI’ve been asked a lot about it. I’m not an economist. I don’t know if it’s going to happen. I know there are varying opinions about thelikelihood of it happening, but I do want to tell you guys this, and that is that whenI started law school in August of 2008, it was right before the huge recession hit. So the class above me, the 2Ls, in Augustand September were interviewing with law firms. They were doing OCI, they were doing callbacks. So the law firms were still in this goldenage of the law firm era where they were hiring huge summer classes. We’re talking 50, 75, a hundred kids in asummer associate class. Angela Vorpahl:


Angela Vorpahl: What ended up happening isthat when that downturn hit in September and October and afterward quick forward to the summer,law firms acknowledged there was no chance they could sustain that many new people. So there were huge no-offer rates, which meantthat the summer associates were not getting permanent offers to come back and work forthat firm when they graduated, which was unheard of up until that point. What wound up happening was that when we,our class, started OCI and callbacks, it was August 2009 and the law firms knew that theycouldn’t have summer associate classes that size.

So the law firms were hiring 10 to 12 newassociates, or hiring one to two to three, or some were hiring none at all. Angela Vorpahl: But what wound up happeningis that people at the top of the class were still able to find big law law firm summerassociate clerkships, and people who worked hard and did well upon graduation were stillable to find good jobs. So I hope it gives you a little bit more peaceof mind in terms of the potential legal job market you’ll be facing when you graduate.

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