Market Watch: Class of 2011 Employment Nationwide and for SJQ Graduates

In the past week, NALP released numbers showing that nationwide, 9 months after graduation, the class of 2011 was experiencing a very challenging employment market. 

Nationwide, law graduates in the class of 2011 saw the lowest employment rate since 1994—85.6% were employed 9 months after they graduated, and just 65.4% were in jobs requiring bar passage.  Additionally, the percentage of graduates in private law practice nationwide dropped from a typical 55-58% to just 49.5%.  Some believe that these graduates suffered the worst of the recent recession—but predictions vary.  For more details, see

The SJ Quinney class of 2011 may have fared slightly better overall than the national employment numbers—but there is no doubt that jobs are won only after dedicated searches and many graduates are not doing exactly what they long envisioned.  Very detailed statistics (including part time/full time & short term/long term) may be found by visiting:  In comparison with the numbers above, 90.3% of 2011 SJ Quinney graduates were employed 9 months after they graduated, and 73.1% of that class were in “bar admission required” jobs—including private firms, government attorney work, and judicial clerkships.   

Of the 2011 SJQ graduates who were employed:

  • The number in “bar admission required” jobs actually increased this year over last by 6 percentage points—from 75% to 81% of those who are employed (and 73.1% of the whole class).  This increase was made up from small percentage drops in each other job type—“JD advantage,” “professional,” and “non-professional jobs.”   The Class of 2010 had shown a notable increase in “JD advantage” jobs and a decrease in “bar admission required” jobs.  With the Class of 2011, the pendulum swung slightly back in the direction of “bar admission required” jobs.
  • Proportions of job types (law firm, government, military, judicial clerkships, academia, business, public interest) remained fairly similar. 
  • The overall full time median law firm salary dropped notably—from $80,000 to $70,000.  This may reflect that we collected more full time salary information from the class of 2011—including nearly all salaries from those working full time in solo practice.  We collected information from about 90% of those working full time.  It probably also reflects that for some, salaries are simply not going up.  The median salary for firms sized 2-10 attorneys (where most private practice attorneys will work) remained the same, however, at $60,000.
  • More were working full time this year—91% of those employed (as opposed to the class of 2010, which saw 75% of those employed working full time).