Report Finds Significant Racial Gaps in Employment of New Lawyers

By  - 

A new report from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) finds significant racial disparities in employment rates for students who graduated from law schools last year.

In the report, “Jobs & JDs, Employment and Salaries of New Graduates, Class of 2021,” released Wednesday, 81 percent of White law school graduates landed bar passage required jobs. In comparison, Black graduates saw a 65.9 percent employment rate for these types of jobs; Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander graduates had a rate of 58.5 percent.

Overall employment outcomes in the legal profession by race and ethnicity this year show that White graduates had the highest employment rate at 93.1 percent. Meanwhile, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander graduates had the lowest employment rate at 81.1 percent, followed by Black and Native American or Alaska Native graduates at 88.6 percent respectively for both demographics.

Disparities also existed between first-generation college students and continuing-generation students, with the latter seeing an employment rate that was 10 percent higher than first-generation students.

“We continue to see that race, gender, and the level of parental education have profound effects on employment and salary outcomes after law school graduation, and we do not see those gaps closing over time,” noted James G. Leipold, NALP’s executive director.

Leipold concludes that the report should be troubling to the legal field. “I continue to believe that the entire profession, including law schools and legal employers, have a shared responsibility to work deliberately to close these gaps over time,” Leipold says.