NALP Foundation & NALP Release Findings from 5th Canadian Law School Alumni Employment and Satisfaction Study (Class of 2018)

The new data shows intriguing shifts within graduates three years after graduation around employment, mobility, satisfaction, educational debt, preparation for practice and mental health.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

The NALP Foundation and NALP today released their fifth joint study, Law School Alumni Employment and Satisfaction, for Canadian alumni of the Class of 2018. The new data shows intriguing shifts within graduates three years after graduation, including:

- High Employment and Mobility Levels: 97% of graduates reported they were currently employed, with 61% reporting they had held two or more sequential positions since graduating. Intriguingly, only 64% reported currently working in a law firm.

- Reduced Satisfaction Levels: Professional satisfaction dipped, with fewer alumni reporting they were extremely satisfied (35%) than was the case last year (43%). Surprisingly, those working 100% from home reported slightly higher satisfaction levels than those working a hybrid schedule or in the office.

- Educational Debt: Alumni reported an average educational debt level (in Canadian dollars) of $39,227, with the vast majority of this debt – 83% – attributable to law school alone.

- Law School Preparation for Practice: Alumni clearly articulated the wish to have been better prepared in practice management issues such as business development, billing, and project management, as well as the need for greater integration of actual practice skills and experiential opportunities into law school curricula.

- Mental Health: Well over half of alumni reported the ongoing pandemic has negatively affected their mental health and well-being, with female alumni reporting this at a higher rate than their male counterparts.

“As the profession continues to evolve, these Canadian graduates provide key insights for all of us in the legal ecosystem – law schools, employers, and others – on how to align what is taught with the realities of practice,” noted NALP Foundation President & CEO, Fiona Trevelyan Hornblower. “The serious – and for some professionally and personally detrimental – effects of law school debt, as well as the pandemic’s ongoing mental health toll, also merit specific attention as we all look to support the next generation of lawyers.”

NALP’s Executive Director James Leipold, noted that “the higher satisfaction levels measured for lawyers working from home surprised me, and stands in contrast to the findings of a parallel U.S. survey that found similarly situated lawyers working solely from home reported lower overall job satisfaction than those working either full-time in the office or in a hybrid schedule. None of us knows what the future of work will look like, but remote work seems not to be a barrier to satisfaction for many of the respondents to this survey.”

This year’s study is based on data provided by 341 Class of 2018 alumni from Canadian law schools between September 2021 and December 2021. In addition to the topics noted above, the report also contains detailed information, segmented by gender identity and work setting, on:

- Employment Status
- Compensation
- Career Trajectory
- Efficacy of Law School Preparation
- Experiential Education
- Key Skills for Practice

The full PDF report for Canadian law schools is available for purchase from the NALP Foundation's Bookstore at https://www.nalpfoundation.org/alumni-employment-and-satisfaction