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Longtime chief of legal jobs tracking group prepares to retire

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A man carrying a briefcase makes his way through Lafayette Park near the White House in Washington, June 24, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarck

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  • Jim Leibold of the National Association for Legal Placement will retire in October 2022
  • He says he has become more focused on spreading racial disparities in the law since the summer of 2020

(Reuters) – Jim Leibold is stepping down after 18 years as the leader of the National Association for Law Appendices (NALP), an organization of law schools and legal employers that tracks hiring and salaries in the industry.

NALP announced Thursday that Leibold will retire as CEO in October 2022.

The organization is known for its annual entry-level recruitment reports. It also organizes an annual conference focused on hiring lawyers and helping law students find jobs.

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NALP Chairman Traci Mundy Jenkins said in a statement about Leipold’s exit that it increased the group’s influence in the legal industry. NALP said it would conduct a national search for its replacement.

Leibold said in an interview Friday that he recently used his position to promote concerns about diversity he’s long held about the legal profession, which he said felt more pressing in the wake of the 2020 George Floyd killing and protests against systemic racism.

Jim Leibold. Courtesy of the National Law Placement Association

Diversity data at the NALP law firm showed slow increases in the ranks of women and minority attorneys, but the group has made a push in the past year to highlight where the biggest problems persist.

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Among the 2020 JD class, the rate of black graduates with jobs requiring a stripe lane was 18 percentage points lower than their white colleagues, according to NALP data.

“The data story we used to tell [diversity, equity, and inclusion] It’s been slow, its upward trajectory — it’s getting better,” said Leibold. “But the more I lived with this data, the more I thought, ‘Things haven’t gotten any better, especially for black lawyers and black law graduates. “

In October, the NALP published data showing that law graduates who are the first to attend college in their families get lawyer jobs at a much lower rate than their classmates with parents who graduated from college or are lawyers.

Kelly Testy, chair of the Law School Admissions Board, said in an interview Friday that she admires Leibold for his work on race and equity issues.

“I think he was a strong moral leader in terms of equality in the legal profession, and he was brave in speaking the truth we need to hear,” she said.

Read more:

Is Big Law’s addiction to elite schools hampering diversity efforts?

Having lawyer fathers boosts job opportunities and salaries for law graduates

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Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Karen Sloan

Karen Sloan reports on law firms, law schools, and the law business. You can reach her at karen.sloan@thomsonreuters.com

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