The Columns

W&L Law Releases 2015 Graduate Employment Report

— by on April 12th, 2016

Washington and Lee University School of Law has released a report on employment rates for its class of 2015.

Data from the Office of Career Strategy show another year of strong growth in employment over previous years. The report measures employment 10 months after graduation.

According to the report, 85 percent of the class of 2015 has secured a full-time job that either requires a J.D. degree or for which a J.D. degree is preferred. The overall employment rate for the class including all employment types and graduate school is over 90 percent.

“This is really great news for our students,” said Cliff Jarrett ‘91L, assistant dean for career strategy. “I credit our students for working with our office and putting the time and energy into their job searches that lead to great employment opportunities.  Our alumni and other employers continue to assist in all phases of our students’ career development and are a tremendous asset to our students’ and recent graduates.”

The employment report, available online, was prepared in accordance with requirements of the American Bar Association and includes summary data about the employment status of the 174 graduates in the class of 2015, the largest graduating class in the school’s history.

The report does not count as employed those graduates with deferred start dates, such as Brendan McHugh, a member of the class of 2015 who postponed his start date with the Philadelphia law firm Drinker Biddle so he could train for the 2016 Summer Olympics. McHugh, a standout collegiate swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, is the U.S. Open record holder in the 50 meter breaststroke.  All of the other students with deferred start dates already have started or will be in full-time, long-term bar required positions.

If students with start dates after the ten-month ABA window are included, Jarrett notes that the overall employment rate for the class of 2015 is 94 percent.

“Brendan’s story is just one of several from this class of an employed student who is not reflected in our report,” says Jarrett. “In most cases, these ‘uncounted’ students are doing exactly what they want to meet their career objectives.”

The report shows graduates working in a diverse range of jobs. 50 percent are heading to law firms, and nearly a quarter of those will be working for “Big Law,” typically firms with over 500 lawyers. 30 percent are working in government, 11 percent in business or industry, and 9 percent in public interest jobs such as legal aid offices.

One particular area of strength for W&L Law has always been placement in federal and state clerkships, and this remains the case for the class of 2015. 19 percent of those employed are clerking, including placements in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the Delaware Supreme Court, and several federal district courts.

2015 graduates are employed in 29 states and one foreign country, South Korea. The top geographic areas for employment are Virginia, the District of Columbia, and New York, followed by California, Delaware and West Virginia.

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