The National Jurist magazine reports on a recent study which says that the most robust legal job market that ever existed in this country is right around the corner. According to the study conducted by Western New England University School of Law professor Renè Reich-Graefe,
- About 520,000 currently employed lawyers will retire by 2030, requiring new lawyers to fill these positions.
- An additional 156,000 new jobs will become available as the need for lawyers continues to grow.
- Due to population increases, more than 166,000 lawyers will be needed to meet the demands of the growing population.
- More than half of currently practicing lawyers in this country will retire over the next fifteen to twenty years.
- The median age of lawyers increased from 39 years in 1980 to 49 years in 2005.
- In 2005, alone, more than 62 percent of all lawyers licensed in the United States were 45 years old or older.
- Over the next 45 years, the demand for legal services within the United States will increase by nearly one third above the current need. This demand should require an additional 25 percent to 30 percent increase in the number of lawyers needed to meet the rising demand.
“As a result, future law school graduates can expect soon to secure better legal jobs, have more opportunity to move laterally and earn higher incomes over the next two decades and beyond than has been the case for the last thirty years — even when they enter and remain within the legal services market with lesser professional credentials and qualifications as compared to market entrants and participants during the last three decades,” Reich-Graefe said.
These findings are consistent with what Cooley’s President and Dean, Don LeDuc, has been predicting in a series of commentaries. See “Assessing Future Enrollment” and the three commmentaries referenced in State Bar of Michigan Data Confirms Improved Law-Related Employment. Indeed, at the beginning of 2013, President LeDuc wrote that “Now’s a Great Time to Enter Law School.” And more than two years ago, he noted how “The Aging of Michigan’s Lawyer Base Portends Job Growth.”
Click here for all of President LeDuc’s commentaries.
President LeDuc has not been alone in his views. We have noted that National Jurist previously reported about increased law jobs for the class of 2016, and that LawCrossing and Crain’s Detroit Business last fall found improvement in legal jobs on both the national and state employment scenes, respectively.