Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Study Shows Nearly One Quarter of Attorneys Licensed in 2000 Are No Longer Practicing Law

Jennifer Nelson of the Indiana Lawyer has an interesting article on a study on the status of the legal profession.  Researchers from After the JD, a project of the American Bar Association, has been tracking a national sample of attorneys who were licensed in 2000.  By 2003, 14.7% were not practicing law. By 2012, that figure had risen to 24.1%.

The After the JD survey linked in the Nelson story included this tidbit:
On a 1-to-5 scale, the 2012 respondents on average rated their satisfaction with their decision to become a lawyer at 3.92. When asked whether they considered law school a good career investment, on a 1-to-7 scale, the average response was 5.55. Finally, when asked whether they would go to law school if they had it to do over again, on a 1-to-7 scale, the average response was 4.91.
My guess is that many of those 2000 licensed attorneys believe that their legal education will be useful in other areas. What most will eventually find out is that their legal background will more often than not limit career choices by over-qualifying the attorney for many non-lawyer positions.

A final point is that while this is a national survey, Indiana is even worse than average.  In a 2011 study, Indiana ranked as the seventh worst job market for attorneys with 3.03 law school grads for every one legal job.  And that is before Indiana Tech came on line as the state's fifth law school to add to the glut of unemployed attorneys.

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