Employment data show JD class of 2021 finding success in legal job market
As of March 15, 98.4% of last year’s graduates were working in long-term, full-time positions for which bar passage was required or a J.D. was an advantage, and Duke ranked no. 3 among all law schools on 2021 employment outcomes.
More than 98% of Duke Law's JD class of 2021 was employed 10 months after graduation, and Duke ranked no. 3 among all law schools on 2021 employment outcomes.
As of March 15, 98.4% of last year’s graduates were working in long-term, full-time positions for which bar passage was required or a J.D. was an advantage. Of the 251 graduates in the class, 93.6% were employed long-term, full-time positions requiring bar passage and not funded by the school, the third-highest percentage for these jobs, according to a Reuters analysis of data that law schools are required to submit to the American Bar Association.
Another 3.2% of the class of 2021 were working in jobs for which a JD was an advantage, and 1.6% were in positions funded by the Law School or university. Two members of the class, or 0.8%, were pursuing graduate studies.
“The class of 2021 is the latest in a long line of Duke Law School classes with stellar employment outcomes after graduation,” said Kerry Abrams, James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean of the School of Law. “Their success in the job market reflects their three years of hard work, growth, and perseverance in the face of extraordinary challenges, including the pandemic. We are proud of them and grateful to their career and academic advisors for helping them successfully launch their careers.”
The largest share of the class of 2021 was working at law firms, and more than two-thirds were employed at firms with more than 100 attorneys. The most popular location for employment was New York, with 27.1% of graduates, followed by Washington, D.C., California, North Carolina, Texas, and Massachusetts.
“These graduates worked amazingly hard and showed tremendous resilience during law school on the way to launching their careers,” said Associate Dean Bruce A. Elvin ’93, Career & Professional Development Center. “For most, the 2L summer was spent working remotely or participating in experiential opportunities facilitated by the Law School, followed by a 3L year that was mostly virtual. Yet they persevered, and we are excited to follow their lives and careers.”
A substantial number of 2021 graduates were clerking for judges or working in the public or non-profit sector. Overall, 13.1% of the class was employed in a judicial clerkship as of March 15, including 11.2% in federal clerkships. Another 9.7% were employed in positions in government or with public interest organizations.
“The path to a public interest career is not easy, but Duke Law students benefit from individualized attention from our Office of Public Interest and Pro Bono, a close-knit community of peers and alumni through our Certificate in Public Interest and Public Service program, and expanded financial support through new post-graduate fellowships and enhanced loan repayment assistance,” Abrams said. “I’m delighted to see this support result in success in the job market and expect it will continue to grow in the future.”
To view Duke’s full ABA employment summary for the Class of 2021 and previous classes, visit https://law.duke.edu/career/employmentdata/.