The Florida Board of Bar Examiners, a total of 3,761 law graduates took the Florida Bar Exam in July 2011 and February 2012. 2,978 or roughly 79% received passing scores. Congratulations on a job well done, now here is the bad news…
The Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP), collects data on recent law graduates. According to their research, the graduating class of 2011 has the lowest employment rate since 1994. The overall employment rate for the Class of 2011 was 85.6% of graduates for whom employment status was known, the lowest rate since 1994, continuing a decline that started in 2008.
This figure is not surprising as both the national and Florida economies continue to sputter, trying desperately to get back in gear. In its most simple form, the dilemma facing recent law graduates, is a case of excess supply and waning demand.
Further compounding the problem, recent law graduates fortunate enough to obtain employment are earning less. According to NALP, the median full-time salary for 2011 graduates is $60,000 compared to $62,000 in 2006. This figure does not account for inflation or increases in costs of living.
Despite the current difficulties facing recent law graduates, the profession remains a beacon of hope for many. Few other professions offer a greater opportunity to serve the community, make a healthy pay check, or the ability to call your own shots. As my father once told me, “this too shall pass,” and when that time comes your success will surely be sweet.
Written by Criminal Attorney John S. Castro