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Law School Graduates Have 55 Percent Chance Of Landing Full-Time Job Within 9 Months: Report

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Graduates of Harvard Law School wave gavels as their degrees are conferred during Harvard University commencement exercises, in Cambridge, Mass., Thursday, May 24, 2012. Little over half of graduates in 2011 found full-time, long-term jobs within nine months.
Graduates of Harvard Law School wave gavels as their degrees are conferred during Harvard University commencement exercises, in Cambridge, Mass., Thursday, May 24, 2012. Little over half of graduates in 2011 found full-time, long-term jobs within nine months.

Planned your entire life around nabbing that law degree and pulling in automatic dough? Too bad.

Within nine months of graduating, only 55 percent of the class of 2011 of law students had full-time jobs that required a law degree and lasted more than a year, according to data from the American Bar Association, cited by the Wall Street Journal.

This is the first year that the data, which features employment statistics from 198 institutions, includes information on whether the law graduates' jobs required a law degree, preferred one, or didn't use one at all.

The distinction is a relevant one given that many aspiring lawyers have struggled to find employment in their chosen fields since the recession, and have often been forced to enter different industries, in some cases even working as dog-walkers and bakery owners.

The jobs crisis for recent law school graduates has gotten so bad that some are fighting back, even if unsuccessfully. In March, a judge threw out a lawsuit brought by nine recent law school graduates against their alma mater, claiming the school misrepresented potential employment opportunities.

Though the average annual salary for lawyers remains in the six-figure range, recent pay trends may not be so encouraging for some aspiring lawyers. The bottom 25 percent of lawyers in terms of earnings saw their pay rise by only 1.3 percent last year, compared to the highest-paid quarter of lawyers, whose income increased by almost 5 percent. Recently, a job posted to Boston College’s career services site made headlines after offering just $10,000 a year for a full-time associate position, CBS Boston reports.

The widening gap between lawyers' fortunes may be a result of there simply being more of them competing for jobs. The ratio of lawyers to Americans has increased to one for every 247 this year, from just one for every 709 in 1950, according to Bloomberg.

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