It is a pivotal time for the legal profession. Economic challenges are making it harder and harder for the historical law firm to survive. According to the National Law Journal's annual survey, "the 250 biggest firms ... shed more than 9,500 lawyers in 2009 and 2010, nearly 8% of the total [lawyers at those firms]." This represents the largest multiyear decline in the thirty-four years the National Law Journal has conducted this survey.

These same challenges are making it harder for law graduates to get "typical" law jobs. The job statistics for recent law school graduates have not been good. According to the National Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP), of 41,156 Class of 2010 graduates whose law schools reported their job status to NALP nine months after graduation, 36,043 (87.6%) obtained jobs of some type. A lower percentage of law school graduates reported having a job for which bar passage was required than ever before (68.4% for the Class of 2010 compared to 74.7% for the Class of 2008). Further, only seventy-one percent of the 2010 jobs reported were both full-time and permanent. "Overall, nearly 27% of all jobs taken by members of [the Class of 2010] were classified as temporary."

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