Data released by the American Bar Assn. in June revealed that barely half of those who graduated from law school in 2011 found full-time jobs as lawyers within nine months of graduating. A separate survey from the National Assn. for Law Placement in June found the overall employment rate last year was the lowest in 16 years.
Although the crisis has been brewing for about a decade, marked by a sudden jump in demand for law school seats, the warning signs until recently had largely been brushed aside, dismissed as another unfortunate symptom of the so-called jobless recovery that has left numerous industries in shambles.
“It is not a blip. It is not temporary. It is a permanent, structural shift,” said Frank Wu, dean of UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, which is cutting its incoming class 20%.