The Class of 2009: Recession or Restructuring?

Every year, NALP reports the employment data for recent law school graduates. Yet, because of the mass layoffs and deferrals taking place over the last two years, special attention is now focused on statistics for the Class of 2009. To its credit, NALP’s May 2010 press release ( and accompanying Selected Findings ( ) are remarkably candid documents that attempt to square our perceptions of “The Great [Legal] Recession” with data that show, on the surface anyway, a relatively mild downturn in legal employment.

The seemingly encouraging baseline is an overall employment rate of 88.3%, which is only 3.6 percentage points off the historical high of 91.9% set for the class of 2007. Yet, as noted by the NALP analysis, these figures lose their luster when the numbers are pulled apart.

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