Small firm job placement is on the rise
Much has been said about the Class of 2011 employment data recently published by NALP (Association of Legal Professionals). In fact, it is difficult not to encounter a blog post or newspaper article that avoids the subject of the changing legal employment landscape.
What is most notable for law students interested in private practice is this: the kinds of firms where graduates are finding jobs has changed dramatically. “The percentage of private practice jobs with large law firms of 501 attorneys or more fell to 16.2%, down more than 9 percentage points from figures of over 25% for both the Classes of 2008 and 2009, and down more than 4 percentage points from last year when the number fell to 20.5% for the Class of 2010. On the other end of the scale, jobs with firms of two to ten lawyers (emphasis added) represented 42.9% of all private practice jobs taken by members of this class, a rise of 11.3 percentage points in three years, up from 31.6% for the Class of 2008.And, the number of graduates reporting that they are working as solo practitioners has similarly soared over three years from 3.3% of all private practice jobs for the Class of 2008 to 6% for the Class of 2011. Taken together, jobs at firms of 50 or fewer lawyers accounted for 59% of all private practice jobs for this class.” (NALP Jobs & JDs report, published 2012).