employment projections can provide more insight into the number of
future lawyer positions that will be available for prospective law
students. In fact, estimates on lawyer employment in 2022 by state are now available, making it possible to update the calculations for the law graduate and lawyer surpluses.
“law graduate surplus” measures the ratio of ABA law school graduates
in each state in 2013 to the estimated annual lawyer job growth rate for
the 2012-22 projection period. The “lawyer surplus” makes the same
calculation but subs out law school graduates with the number of bar
admits in all states and under all circumstances (including those
entering on motion).
law graduate surplus is useful because it uses a discrete number of
individuals, but it includes people who never become lawyers while
excluding people who join the bar without going to an ABA law school
(for instance, by attending a foreign law school). By contrast, the
lawyer surplus directly measures people who obtain a law license, except
it duplicates many who seek bar admission in multiple states—a
phenomenon that is likely to increase in the future as more
jurisdictions adopt the Uniform Bar Exam. However, the lawyer surplus
does provide information on the large number of lawyers who motion into
the District of Columbia bar without attending a local law school or
taking its bar exam.