PSJD Subscriber Benefits
PSJD subscriptions are available to both schools and individual jobseekers. Many individual jobseekers do not need to purchase subscriptions, however, because they are students or alumni of law schools that subscribe to PSJD and are therefore able to create jobseeker accounts for free. (If you start the process of creating a free jobseeker account, you will have a chance to check whether you are eligible to sign up for PSJD as a school affiliate; if you are not eligible you can purchase an individual subscription via the NALP bookstore.)
In almost every respect, individual jobseekers have the same subscriber benefits as school subscribers do. There are a few exceptions, though. We'll try to be clear on this page about benefits that are available to school subscribers but not individual jobseekers.
A PSJD subscription also includes other site features, such as PSJD's Postgraduate Fellowship Calendar and access to NALP’s interactive research report on public interest salaries and benefits. Students at subscriber schools are also eligible to be nominated for the PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award (a $2000 prize for pro bono service which NALP awards each year). Additionally, a PSJD subscription allows all subscribers to take advantage of the ongoing efforts of NALP’s PSJD Team as we work to continuously improve the service and provide public-service-focused benefits to subscribing individuals and schools.
The Job Database
To understand how much you (or your school's affiliates) might benefit from PSJD's jobs database, here's a bit more information about how we source positions in the directory, how many you’re likely to find in a given moment, and what kinds of positions they are likely to be (in terms of experience level and location).
Job Database - Sources
PSJD is an initiative of NALP, and jobs on the site reflect tips from public service employers, PSJD’s many subscriber schools, and independent research conducted by the PSJD Team. In particular, throughout the year the PSJD team reviews fellowship announcements in the PSJD database and reaches out to employers regarding their upcoming fellowship plans in order to maintain a comprehensive Legal Fellowship Calendar.
Job Database – Size & Makeup
To give you a sense of the character of the jobs database, in a typical month (looking over the last four years), it contained between 2500 and 3000 positions. On average in 2019-2020, 661 new jobs entered the database each month. In the most recent year for which we have complete data (2019-2020), roughly 11% of these positions were for law students, 43% were non-fellowship postgraduate jobs, and 46% were postgraduate fellowships.
Although many schools appreciate PSJD because it gives them visibility into legal markets where their networks are less strong, allowing them to help students with further-flung interests, if you are a school administrator subscribed to PSJD, you may have questions about how the database serves your general region. Positions in the database were predominantly in the United States and Canada, but we list international positions as well. It is difficult for us to evaluate the quality of our coverage state-by-state in the US; many positions we list are in states like New York and California, but those states also have the largest legal markets overall. We do our best to understand this issue, though, by using NALP’s Jobs & JDs report. Because NALP collects data on the number of public service (public interest and government) jobs graduating law students report obtaining in each state, we can compare those numbers to the number of entry-level jobs PSJD lists for each state in the 15-month period during which law students can report positions (e.g., for the class of 2019, we count entry-level positions posted in the database between January 2019 and March 2020).
Using this comparison, the PSJD Team reviews our coverage of each state in the US each fall. In states where a greater proportion of recent graduates obtained public service work (relative to the US as a whole) than the proportion of entry-level positions we posted for that state on PSJD (relative to our database as a whole), we know we need to strengthen our network. In states where these two proportions are roughly even, or where the proportion of positions on PSJD outweighs the proportion of graduates obtaining public service work, we feel confident in our coverage. This method is not foolproof, but it helps us ensure that each year we think hard about how our coverage of the public service legal market is serving users across the United States. If you are a school administrator currently subscribing to PSJD or one potentially interested in subscribing your school to our service, feel free to reach out to us via email to have a conversation about what the database's makeup looks like in your state or the particular region into which you are hoping to gain visibility.
The Employer Directory
When we talk with law students about PSJD, we try to emphasize that not all employers they may be interested in will have active job notices on PSJD. To help them research who is doing work in a particular legal area in a certain location, we also maintain an Employer Directory. The Directory contains brief profiles for all employers that have listed one or more positions with PSJD within the past five years. In addition to retiring profiles that have been inactive for several years, we also attempt to review employers annually to remove any profiles for employers that have closed down.
The Resource Library
PSJD also maintains a library of resources relevant to public service job searches and professional development, which is curated by NALP’s Public Service Section. Some of these resources are contributed by PSJD subscriber schools, some of them are written by members of NALP’s Public Service Section, and some of them are maintained by NALP’s Public Service Staff. Some of our most popular resources include the UBE Portability Cheat Sheet (maintained by the Public Service Section, based on the ABA’s Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements), our list of State & Local Government Career Resources (maintained by NALP’s Public Service Staff), and the Public Service Attorney Salary Report (produced quadrennially by NALP’s Research Staff).
If you go to the resource center hoping to learn about a particular topic or area and come up empty, feel free to reach out to us via email to suggest an area you wish we would cover or a question you would like to see us try and answer. We can't commit to producing or sourcing material on-demand, but we will happily take your feedback into account as we plan expansions of our research library.
Public Service Attorney Salary Report
Of these resources, the Salary Report is perhaps the most involved. Before the latest edition of the report (2018), the Public Service Attorney Salary Report was available as a print resource only—an additional purchase schools could make via the NALP bookstore. Law students could find it in their school's career office--if their school had purchased it and they knew to look for it. In 2018, we integrated the salary report into PSJD; all subscriber schools (and their students and alumni) can download the report as a PDF or explore it as a series of interactive salary visualizations on PSJD. These interactive infographics help students and counselors put public service salaries in context, whether by comparing them across geographic regions, across time (the 2018 data is displayed alongside the 2014 report's data), or even against cost of living estimates for specific locations. NALP produces this report every four years; the next edition is due out in 2022.
The Pro Bono Publico Award
Each year, law students across the United States each contribute, on average, hundreds of hours of pro bono service to their new profession.1Footnote 1 Each year, NALP confers its PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award on a second- or third-year law student at one of PSJD’s subscriber schools. (You can find some information about our most recent award recipient here.) Our hope is that this award will call attention to the significant contributions that law students who perform pro bono work make to under-served populations, the public interest community, and legal education. Each subscriber school may submit up to two nominees for the award; the nomination deadline is typically in early fall. Recipients are honored at their schools with commemorative plaques and a monetary award of $2,000.
NALP’s PSJD Team
NALP’s PSJD team includes a portion of the work of NALP’s Director of Public Service Initiatives, as well as a dedicated PSJD Fellow (a post-graduate fellowship available to recent law graduates) and a number of part-time data entry and website maintenance staff (collectively equivalent to about one full-time position). NALP’s Director of Public Service Initiatives sets development goals for the service as we work to continuously improve our efficiency, our accuracy, and to offer useful new features. The PSJD Fellow runs the service day-to-day and manages our data entry and maintenance staff, who help us list positions we source and conduct checks for quality and accuracy. All of us work for you, as a subscriber.
In recent years, we’ve made significant changes to the way we work behind the scenes that have made the jobs database significantly more productive, in terms of the number of positions we are able to source each month. We also work to deliver new utility to subscribers on a regular basis. For example, last summer we integrated PSJD’s salary data with relevant job notices; PSJD users who have access to the Salary Report (jobseekers and school administrators) now can see relevant salary data excerpted from the report alongside job announcements as they browse PSJD. (You can read more about how this works in our blog post on the subject.)
School administrators who are subscribed to PSJD can reach out to us via email to schedule free webinars for either their students or their colleagues where NALP’s PSJD Team can discuss how to make the most of PSJD. (School administrators interested in potentially subscribing to the service can also reach out to us via email to request a demonstration.)
See e.g., The American Association of Law Schools’ 2019 Law Student Pro Bono Hours Survey Report. ↩