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Beg Us, Beat Us—We Still Won't Tell!

Vivia Chen

January 17, 2012

© snaptitude - Fotolia.comI'm shocked, shocked: The nearly 200 law schools in this land are not coughing up reliable data about how their graduates are faring in the job market. Law School Transparency, that nonprofit organization that's been pestering law schools to be more forthright, has just issued its latest finding:

—Twenty-seven percent (54 out of 197 ABA-accredited schools) fail to provide any valuable information on their Web sites for the class of 2010. And 22 schools "do not provide any employment information on their Web site whatsoever."

—Fifty-one percent of schools fail to indicate how many graduates actually responded.

—Only 26 percent of schools indicate how many graduates worked in legal jobs. And 11 percent indicate how many were in full-time legal jobs.

--Though 49 percent of schools provide some salary information, the vast majority (78 percent) provide the information in misleading ways.

I would have guessed that top schools, at least, would be rushing to open their books—but I'm wrong. Stanford Law School, for one, provided zippo information about grads, according to LST's index that tracks the schools' responses. (Stanford was in the same company as Stetson, Suffolk, and Ave Maria law schools, among others.)

"In fact, it seems that lower-ranked schools are outdoing their rank in terms of transparency," says Kyle McEntee, the executive director of LST. "The only top schools really doing an okay job are Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and Yale." But the schools that actually earned a "good" for disclosing placement information, McEntee tells me, are "Michigan State, Thomas Jefferson, Houston, Florida, Seattle, and Denver"—though he cautions that "no school has employment data independently audited."

LST also is not impressed by the University of Chicago Law School, which got a lot of favorable publicity when it disclosed detailed employment data about its grads recently. "We believe Chicago received acclaim because the job outcomes for Chicago’s 2010 graduates appear to be strong relative to other law schools’ outcomes," says LST in its report. "But if every law school disclosed employment data according to Chicago’s incomplete methodology, most would still continue to mislead prospective law students."

Well, that was a bit of a knuckle rap. 

In any case, the upshot seems to be this: There's little rhyme or reason as to which schools are complying, which means that Law School Transparency still has to soldier on in its lonely battle. But, as we've often said, unless consumers wake up to the law school scam and demand more answers from schools (especially those with mediocre reputations) about their graduates, what incentive do schools have to be honest? I mean, they're not the ones who are stupid.

Editor's note: Since the original posting, LST's Kyle McEntee has informed us that Stanford now provides detailed information about its graduates on its website.

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Comments

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IF LAW SCHOOLS LIE WHAT DO YOU EXPECT OF LAWYERS? WHAT ARE THEY TEACHING THEIR STUDENTS?

What a load of crap - forget these law schools - why would you trust their data anyway? Why doesn't Law School Transparency go directly to newly-graduated lawyers and ask them for this information? They could do it via the web.


Participants would be required to disclose their name and contact information (just so it could be confirmed a legitimate response), but the participant could choose whether to publicly disclose their name or to remain anonymous.


Imagine all the questions you could ask!!

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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