Update and Bump: To the extent the 50,000 are unable to find positions they may be the lucky ones. Change is coming here.

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According to Greg Voakes, writing in Business Insider, the next five years will see the graduation of more than 200,000 new lawyers, or five times as many as two generations ago.

Of those graduates, nearly 50,000 will be unable to find work within the profession, up from 6,000 or so two years ago.

Here is a graphical representation of the changes affecting the prospects for new graduates, and for experienced hands, too.

Note that New York and California are already awash in a flood of lawyers in excess of positions available for them to fill.


Graphic on Lawyer Employment

The need for increased productivity will become more apparent with each passing year.

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8 thoughts on “Coming: 50,000 Unemployed Lawyers?

  1. We need lawyers here in Canada! Come to Canada. Open up a practice, charge less, be accessible and thrive.
    Canadians do not have access to lawyers as they are priced way to high and don’t deal with citizens in the area of practice that is needed.
    I’m posting this page on my site.

    • Frustrated unemployed lawyer

      I would move to Canada in a heartbeat to open a practice, Connie!! Only one little catch: US attorneys are not allowed to practice in foreign countries.

      When you convince the Canadian government and bar associations there to become more flexible or allow reciprocity and fast-track licensing for US attorneys, please let me know. In the meantime, I keep praying for sufficient contract/freelance assignments to enable me to pay the bills and keep from losing my home.

      • sadly Unemployed

        You can work in Canada.. but you need to test in. Only a few US jurisdictions have a reciprocity with Canada… the best location is actually New York, which will allow you to jump to Canada to sit for their exam so you can get a Commonwealth jurisdiction… which allows you to then jump to the UK, Cayman, India.. or any other Commonwealth law jurisdiction. It is difficult but possible.

  2. Terra Paltro

    If something isn’t meant to be, then don’t force it. Find another career. Or, just keep moving around the world to find a country that might actually need lawyers; and who knows, you might find one.

  3. Elwyn Williams

    Going to law school was absolutely the worst decision of my life. I already had a Ph.D. and years of lab experience and really wanted to practice IP law as I had had some experience with the tech out of the labs I worked in. I went to Loyola Los Angeles where the Dean and other profs were fond of saying, “You’re only here because you can’t do math. If you could do math, you’d go to med school.” I should have run after the first semester but stuck it out. Now I can’t find a legal job even though willing to work anywhere in the US, and spending the time in law school has made me fall behind in lab technology. Oh, yeah, passed Cal Bar and patent bar first time, so no problem with certifications. I predict there are going to be a rash of suicides in about 20 years when people who couldn’t get good jobs are faced with the huge tax bill that will come with their loan balance being forgiven.

  4. It is a shock to find out that there will be 50,000 lawyers that will be unemployed after graduating law school and passing the bar. The key for these lawyers who are struggling to find work is to find a way to stand out to law firms and other legal employers. By revamping your resume and researching each employer you apply for, you can stand out and find opportunities as a lawyer, even in this dismal market.

  5. Karen

    Yes, graduated 2012 and still unemployed. What to do?

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