The Numbers that Shape Our Lives

Here are the numbers that underpin, What’s New About the New Normal: The Evolving Market for New Lawyers in the 21st Century.   not hiring

  • Law jobs. In 2007, 70% to 77% (depending on how you count some jobs) of law school graduates got law jobs within 9 months of graduating. In 2011, those numbers had fallen to 50% to 59%.
  • Where jobs were lost. Over half of the lawyer jobs lost since 2007 were lost at firms of over 100 lawyers.
  • Big firm hiring. Hiring by firms of over 100 lawyers has dropped since 2007 from 19% of law graduates to 12%.
  • Applications to law schools. Applications to law schools have dropped from 100,000 in 2004; to 59,000 in 2013.
  • Law school enrollments. Law school class sizes dropped from 52,500 in 2010; to 42,500 (estimated) in 2012.

Perhaps, you spotted the trend? The entire system has ratcheted down, mostly driven by what has happened at the big firms. Burk says it’s because work formerly done by new lawyers at large firms is now being  insourced, outsourced, downsourced and given to machines. He points to document discovery and due diligence (“what often amounted to legally literate clerical work”).

This is the new normal. We’re not going back.

And, it prompts questions about what a lawyer is, how lawyers are best organized and how they should be educated and trained. (Thoughts on that later.)

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