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class of employment report - Shepard Broad Law Center - Nova ...

class of employment report - Shepard Broad Law Center - Nova ...

Employment Report

Employment Report 2010INTRODUCTIONThe Nova Southeastern University 2010 Employment Report and Graduate Job Placement Survey 1 revealsan uptick in the job placement rate and average salary for the Class of 2010 compared to the Class of2009. After two consecutive years in decline, this rebound is certainly positive and may reflect earlystages of economic recovery in the legal employment market. Results for the class of 2010 are promisingas 80.66% of the graduates successfully obtained employment within 9 months of graduation. This wasup from 78.26% in 2009. Undoubtedly, concerns regarding the economy still exist, and it remains to beseen whether this improvement will continue. Reported salaries for the 2010 class as a whole rose to thehighest level ever, compared to salaries from the prior years. Average salaries for 2010 grads rose by justover $3,700 to $61,770 2 - up from $58,035 in 2009. 3As has been the case in the past, a review of 2010 job placement data reveals that the typical NSU Lawgraduate chooses to enter a small, private law practice; and more often than not, that practice is locatedin south Florida. Nearly 65% of the Class of 2010 reported entering private practice. Almost 90% remainin the state of Florida – with 75% finding jobs in the tri-county area of Miami-Dade, Broward, and PalmBeach Counties. The next most popular employment option is a position in business, representing morethan 18% of employed graduates, followed by those who found positions in government at just over 8%.TRENDSAfter two years in decline, employment and salary figures experienced a bounce-back in 2010. Bothcategories ticked upwards. Whether this improvement is the beginning of a trend will not be known untilthe Class of 2011 is surveyed in early 2012. Fewer graduates entered private practice in 2010, compared to the classes 2009 and 2008: 64.7%went to private practice in 2010, 70% in 2009, and 68% in 2008. Much of this movement came from grads who entered (or remained in) a business field, insteadof practicing law. 18.1% of the Class of 2010 went into business, compared to 11.6% in 2009 and9.6% in 2008. This could be indicative of a reduction of available legal jobs in 2010. Sixteen(7.3%) 2010 grads returned to pre-law school jobs; 8 of them (3.65%) back to business positions. 5.9% of 2010 graduates pursued positions in public interest law. 4 This was up from a low of 3.5%in 2009, but still less than 7.2% taking these jobs in 2008. The Class of 2010 also experienced a decline in the number of judicial clerks – with 2 appellateclerks in 2010 compared to 5 in 2009. Only 2 graduates from the Class of 2010 reported opening solo practices 5 upon admission to theBar. In 2009, 10 grads went solo, as did 11 in 2008 and 5 in 2007.11 The Class of 2010 survey compiles data collected as of February 15, 2011 and includes information forgraduates from December 2009 and May 2010.2 This year, one outlier salary figure ($250,000) skews the mean average substantially. Removing this data pointreduces the mean average for the Class of 2010 from $61,770 to $60,409 – still NSU Law’s highest average ever.3 NSU Law graduated more students in 2010 than in the prior few years. There were 279 graduates in 2010compared to 255 in 2009 and 258 in 2008.4 NALP categorizes positions with Public Defenders’ offices as “in the public interest.” Over the past two years,budget cut-backs have forced many of Florida’s PD’s offices to slash their hiring of entry-level attorneys, therebydiminishing the number of graduates falling in the Public Interest employment category of the NALP Survey.5 We have reached out to these graduates, offering to assist them with preparing Business Plans and providingthem with resources from the LOMAS division of the Florida Bar.

JOB MARKET REALITIESFor the past three years, the US economy has experienced one of its worst economic cycles in severaldecades. No sector has escaped the effects of this downturn. Certainly, the legal marketplace has notbeen immune. During this period, hiring decisions by law firms and corporate legal departments at alllevels have been extremely calculated as they attempt to better align resources with demand. In thepublic sector, state and local governments have experienced unprecedented budgetary shortfalls asunemployment squeezes a dwindling tax base. Public Defenders’ and States Attorneys’ offices cry out formuch needed help – only to be denied by state legislatures looking to cut, not increase, their annualbudgets. Against this backdrop, entry-level attorney hiring statistics are directly impacted by instabilityand shrinking of the legal marketplace. Data reflects that South Florida’s legal job market seems to beconsistent with most legal job markets throughout the country. 6 Throughout the nation, more legalemployers are not hiring at all, and many are hiring fewer entry-level attorneys than in past years.Only recently (as of June 2011), national and state employment data is beginning to show signs of aneconomic recovery. However, such was not the case in the summer and fall of 2010 when graduatesfrom the NSU class of 2010 were descending upon the job market. In light of market conditions, it couldbe expected that the downward trend in employment rates - experienced in 2008 and 2009 - wouldcontinue for 2010. Rather remarkably, however, employment numbers for the class of 2010 actuallywent up, as did overall average salary. The Class of 2010 experienced an increase in the employmentrate from the prior year. 80.66% of 2010 graduates reported employment at the 9 month post-graduateinterval, compared to 78.26% at the same point in time for the Class of 2009. This improvement did notreach 2008 levels, however, which were at 81.57%. Employment rates peaked in 2007 (prior to thedecline in the nation’s economy) with 83.68% of those graduates reporting employment.It is important to note, pursuant to NALP reporting guidelines, the “not employed” figure (i.e. 19.34% for2010), includes those graduates who have chosen to continue their legal education and pursue advancedLL.M. degrees. In reality, while those grads are “not employed,” it can be safely stated that they are not“seeking employment.” Therefore, the reported “not employed” statistic is actually inflated, and may bemisleading. Thus, while 53 members of the Class of 2010 (out of 274 reporting) are included in the “notemployed” category of the NALP Report, 13 of them indicated that they had enrolled in full-time LL.M.post-graduate degree programs. The more telling statistic (but not formally included in the NALP report)is the number of graduates who are “not employed” and not pursuing advanced degrees. For the Class of2010, that number would be 40 out of 274 reporting graduates, or 14.6% of the class. Therefore, the“employed or still in school” percentage is 85.4% of 2010 graduating class.NALP NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT REPORTAs mentioned above, this annual employment survey is conducted pursuant to guidelines promulgatedby NALP – the National Association for Legal Career Professionals. All data collected by NSU and otherlaw schools throughout the country is submitted to NALP (typically during March) for computation andanalysis. NALP thereafter publishes an annual national report, with various commentaries regardingtrends, regional differences, etc. for review at their website: www.nalp.org.The data and analysis contained in this report represents information regarding NSU Law grads only.Some schools who participate in the national study choose not to disclose their individual informationpublicly. NSU Law believes that this information is useful to current, former and prospective students, aswell as others interested in our programs. Employment and salary information is helpful for students andalumni assessing potential career paths, and can also be of great use during salary negotiations. We,therefore, present this information for consideration by those who may find it helpful.26 See US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 Edition,http://www.bls.gov/oco/oco20024.htm and http://www.labormarketinfo.com.

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