The Bad List
The above listed are the top ten toughest states in which to find a law job. Many of you are probably reading this list with a sigh of relief that your law school is not located in any of these states OR you’re in a panic. But wait, now take a look at the states with the least applicants for each available job:
The Good List
Again the sighs of relief and sounds of panic can be heard across the nation. But stop (already)! The data are a bit misleading. Look closely – it’s kind of like when you were first applying to your undergraduate program. People are going to apply for jobs in states in which they would like to work. Of course, there are fewer job applicants in Alaska than in New York! Just like there were more college applications for Harvard than for the local community college. So don’t hit the panic button quite yet. We hope you’re now looking at the details a bit more closely. Some of these places (take for example, Mississippi) don't have the most desirable law schools (i.e., you can attend Mississippi College which doesn't even make the mark on US News World Report Rankings or University of Mississippi which is ranked at 102). Our bet is the good old state of Mississippi doesn’t place a lot of value on a great pool of attorneys. One could logically predict they wouldn’t have many law jobs there. We could analyze the law schools of every state appearing on these lists and you would find that New York and Massachusetts get tons of applications from people who attended law schools outside of the state. They're both states known as The Place To Work. The schools that feed new employees to them come from a national pool rather than the regional pool so they have to be considered differently.
Don’t understand that concept? To be brief, most law schools will prepare their students to be hired in-state by focusing on a specific jurisdiction or group of jurisdictions (i.e., regional pool) while a few law schools, like Yale, will prepare their students to be placed elsewhere in the nation using a focus on scholarship, research, teaching, and academic values (i.e., national pool). The law school you attend impacts the limited number of states where you will find your colleagues because the majority of law schools create regional pools. However, if you’re attending law school at a school listed on the Bad List you aren’t dead in the water because the majority of schools place graduating students in more than just their state. For example, if you attend school at the University of Oregon, you will most likely find employment in Oregon, Washington state, or California. Only Oregon is on the Bad List, so you still have a pretty decent chance at finding a job.
Well, about that finding a job thing. The market is still bad. And it’s bad for all graduates; not just law school graduates. So, yes, listen to everyone bemoaning the thin market and realize it’s everyone everywhere. And when the market improves, you’ll still have J.D. after your name instead of a long record of unemployment . So relax and enjoy your choice to attend law school and hope that the predictions of imminent economic recovery are finally...finally correct.
If you want to know which states are the primary hirers for your law school, drop us a note that includes the name of your law school and we'll be happy to tell you.