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Job News--JD Match Is Free (for Now); Lawyer Population Grows

The Careerist

July 21, 2011

Some recent news for law students and recent grads, and hey, it's not all bad!

In time for the upcoming recruiting season, JD Match has announced in a press release that it is now offering free access to law students--rather than the $99 fee it was originally charging--"in response to the dismal hiring outlook in the legal sector." The new service allows students to upload their resumes, and then uses an algorithm to match students to participating law firms. And there's good news if you already paid to join, because the company is offering refunds.

In addition to the free membership level for law students, there will also be a premium level at an annual fee of $49, which is "currently under development." The press release notes that so far, five law firms have registered with JD Match, which may sound a little dismal, until you hear the law firms' names: Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr; Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati; K&L Gates; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and McKenna Long & Aldridge. Mini_dollar

So what do you think? Will this be a more efficient system, or another way to cash in on desperate job seekers?

You'd think that with all the bad employment news in recent years involving the legal job market,  there might be a drop in the number of lawyers. But according to the American Bar Association's 2011 National Lawyer Population Survey (hat tip: ABA Journal), the national lawyer population is still on the rise, albeit only on a modest level. As the ABA Journal notes, only five states reported a drop in their lawyer numbers: Arkansas, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Utah.

On to the really bad news--recent law school grads are earning a fair amount less than earlier grads, according to a report recently released by NALP, reports Karen Sloan of The National Law Journal. As of February, the median salary for the class of 2010 in full-time jobs was $63,000, which is $9,000 less than the $72,000 median salary reported by the class of 2009. The lower numbers aren't actually due to employers paying lower salaries, but rather that fewer grads are getting jobs at large law firms, where the highest salaries are, according to NALP executive director James Leipold. According to the study, 53 percent of 2010 law grads reported working at firms with 50 or fewer lawyers, while only 46 percent reported doing so in 2009.

Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? E-mail The Careerist's chief blogger, Vivia Chen, at VChen@alm.com or deputy blogger Audree Wong at awong@alm.com.

Comments

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Hi Audree - Thanks for the great post. One minor clarification - JD Match is currently available to students. We'll be making JD Match available to recent grads soon, based on the many heartfelt emails we've received from them. We've already started on making this improvement. Thanks, again for the great post. Best, Janet Stanton, CEO, JD Match

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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