Law schools may be diversifying, but are they placing graduates in jobs? Yes, but not with much growth, say new numbers from the American Bar Association (ABA).

On April 9, the ABA released its latest data on law graduate employment outcomes for the class of 2013. According to the study, 57 percent of 2013 graduates landed long-term, full-time jobs that required passage of the bar. That figure is up from 0.8 percent from 2012.

In addition, 46,776 law students in total graduated in 2013, the largest class size in ABA history. In 2012, only 46,364 students graduated from law school.

However, the happy news seems to end there. The ABA also reported that the number of graduates that were unemployed or seeking employment rose to 11 percent from last year’s 10.6 percent. In addition, while long-term, full-time jobs were slightly on the rise, less graduates placed in either long-term, part-time jobs or short-term jobs of any status.

More 2013 law school graduates — 39.6 percent of all graduates — went directly into law firm positions, maintaining the top spot among all placement of graduates for yet another year. The largest growth by sector belongs to government, which saw 10.6 percent of all law school grads within the past year, up 0.6 percent from 2012. But not all public jobs were so lucky, as jobs designated as “public interest” fell from 5.9 percent of 2012 law grads to 4.8 percent of 2013 law grads.

For now, the law school arena is holding steady, but recent numbers show that the tide is slowly starting to shift. According to December 2013 numbers from the ABA, first-year enrollment in accredited U.S. law schools dropped 11 percent in 2013, down to just 39,675 full-time or part-time students. That number is the lowest seen since the 1970’s. In addition, approximately two-thirds of ABA law schools saw declines in first year enrollment.


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