Having lawyer parents boosts job prospects, salaries for law grads

Date Added: October 21, 2021 02:43:09 PM
Author: Sutra Web Directory
Category: Legal Services
Law graduates who are the first in their families to attend college fare worse on the legal job market than classmates with at least one college-educated parent, according to new data from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP). Peers with at least one lawyer parent, in contrast, have a leg up.

The overall employment rate among first-generation college students in the J.D. class of 2020 was 88%—about three percentage points lower than for law grads with a parent or guardian with a bachelor’s degree, and almost five percentage points lower than law grads with a lawyer parent.

Those disparities widened when NALP zeroed in on entry level jobs that require bar passage. That employment rate was just over 73% among first-generation college students, nearly 80% among law grads with a parent who graduated college and more than 84% among grads with a lawyer parent.

NALP’s latest jobs report, released Wednesday, marks the first time the group tracked educational levels attained by law graduates’ parents. The figures point to an alarming disparity in legal hiring, NALP executive director Jim Leipold said in a statement, suggesting first-generation college students need more assistance in navigating the job market.

“It is incumbent upon law schools to put in the hard work necessary to close these gaps,” Leipold said.

The job gap among first-generation college students mirrors racial disparities in legal employment, partly because minority law students are more likely to be the first in their families to attend college, NALP found.

The group said first-generation college students accounted for nearly 23% of 2020 J.D.s. But that figure was nearly 42% among Latino students; nearly 36% among Black students; and 55% among Native American and Alaska Natives. White J.D. graduates were most likely to have a lawyer parent, at nearly 18%.

The advantages of having a parent with a J.D. were wide-ranging on the employment front, NALP found. Nearly 63% of such graduates found private practice jobs, which tend to pay more, compared with 56% of first-generation college students. Children of lawyers secured judicial clerkships at a rate of nearly 14%, compared to 9% for first-generation college students.

Those with lawyer parents were more likely to land federal clerkships, while first-generation college students were more likely to go into less-prestigious state and local clerkships, NALP found.
~ Via Reuters