Maybe it isn’t such a bad time to be a law school graduate. According to the National Association for Law Placement, the job offer rate for 2013 interns of law firms is nearly as high as it was before the financial crisis.
The nonprofit organization, which tracks legal employment figures, said that 92 percent of law students who worked as summer associates in 2013 received a job offer post-internship. In 2007, only a slightly higher percentage, 93 percent, received offers.
Considering the hiring hold that many firms enacted during the midst of the financial crisis, these numbers are surely a good sign for current and incoming law students. In 2009, just 69 percent of summer interns received job offers, a 20-year low. The 2013 figure is a slight bump over the 2012 figure, which saw 90 percent of students receive job placement.
For those law students seeking placement at major U.S. law firms, the summer associate program is typically the number one avenue to success. Students typically interview for entrance into a firm’s summer associate program early in the student’s second year, with those selected working the following summer in hopes of receiving a job offer.
However, overall jobs in the legal industry are not yet back up to pre-financial crisis levels. Part of the reason for this bump in hiring percentage may come from a lack of competition overall. In 2013, only 39,675 students enrolled full-time or part time in law school, down nearly 5,000 students from just the year before. That 2013 total sits just one student shy of the number who enrolled in 1977 and is the lowest since that time.
Those students that do enter law schools, though, may be more ready to enter the legal world than ever before. Many law schools have implemented new strategies to train lawyers, using corporate product development methodologies to train aspiring attorneys in a different way.
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