HBJ Photo | Joe Cooper Enlarge image Ryan Powell is among thousands of recent law graduates studying for July’s multistate bar exam, but like many other Connecticut pupils, he isn’t worried about finding a job.

That’s because Powell, 26, has already accepted an employment offer from Goldberg Segalla, a corporate law firm located in downtown Hartford. And he’s not alone. Of the 153 students who recently graduated from UConn’s Hartford law school, about 115 pupils (or 77 percent) said they landed a job by commencement.

Industry experts say the legal job market for recent grads has stabilized and begun to rebound in certain practice areas over the last two years after suffering a blow during and following the Great Recession. Consequently, Connecticut’s three law schools are reporting high rates of student employment following graduation.

Some larger firms have been expanding and looking to recruit more diverse candidates to meet client needs, says Michael Menapace, new president of the 1,800-member Hartford County Bar Association. Firms are looking to recruit, hire and retain more diverse junior associates than ever before, he says.

"Because clients are demanding better diversity … firms are responding," Menapace said. "Attracting and retaining them is a big issue amongst law firms right now."

Graduates are also fortunate that firms are adding lawyers to accommodate growing practice areas such as cybersecurity, data protection, labor, employment, employee retirement and health care, said Menapace, who is also a Quinnipiac law professor and parter of Wiggin and Dana LLP.

Still, smaller firms in Connecticut aren’t growing as fast due to the state’s limp economy, he said.

"Law firms go where the clients are," Menapace said. "Until there is a change in the business climate here, the law firms that focus on corporate clients are going to look outside the region for growth."

But despite the state’s stagnant economy, Connecticut law graduates are finding jobs at a higher rate than the national average.The UConn School of Law reported that in 2017, 135 out of its 153 student graduates (88 percent) found work within 10 months of commencement, according to the American Bar Association (ABA) ranking system. About 90 percent of […]

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