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Sunday, July 31, 2011

NALP Objects to ABA Reform of Law School Placement Data Reporting

NALP logo Following up on last week's post, NALP has sent this biting four-page letter objecting to the ABA's reform of law school placement data reporting:

The purpose of this letter is to convey NALP’s strong objection to the actions taken by the Council with regard to the collection of law school employment data. ... This will, in effect, duplicate the research effort that NALP has successfully undertaken for the last 37 years. We object to this action on several grounds, including the fact it will actually lead to LESS transparency and information about the entry-level legal employment market and not more, and the fact that it is an action that is contrary to all of the public conversations about this issue that have taken place among the ABA, NALP, the law schools, and the public over the last year and a half. ...

[W]e object in the strongest terms possible to the Section’s unlicensed use of NALP’s research terms and definitions in its plan to collect student record level data directly from the schools. The ABA may well decide that it should survey schools directly about what happens to their students when they complete their legal education, but in order to do so the ABA must develop its own survey instrument and research terms. The actions of the Council’s Executive Committee this week have effectively taken the intellectual property that NALP has developed over the last 37 years, used it as if it were its own property, and at the same time have effectively disabled NALP from using its own intellectual property by implementing a second and necessarily preemptive reporting duty on its accredited law schools.

NALP will be working with its member law schools, other stakeholders, and the press in the coming weeks to argue that the actions undertaken by the Council this week are detrimental and harmful to legal education, and will in the long term diminish the amount of information available about the legal employment market, and will in fact decrease transparency rather than increasing it at a time when the public pressure on legal education to increase transparency is intense.

(Hat Tip: Bryan Camp.)

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Comments

Wow this letter is a piece of work. It's one of the funniest things I have ever read.

"One of the chief harms caused by this action is that it will require a dual reporting burden by the
law schools"

Ummm, no. The NALP reporting is dispensible.

"One of the constant themes from nearly all of the law school representatives who testified at the Fort Lauderdale hearing was their plea not to add an additional data collection burden to the law school CSO offices"

Nope. The complete opposite

"there is a great risk that many of them will no longer report their data to NALP. This will inevitably lead to the reduction in the amount of information we have about the entry-level legal employment process,"

Oh so that's what they meant by less transparency.

"Virtually everything we know as an industry about the entry-level legal employment market, and
our ability to describe it, quantify it, and measure change, is based on the data that NALP has
collected, analyzed, and published for the last 37 years."

Exactly, which is why there is a problem.

Posted by: anon | Jul 31, 2011 1:51:38 PM

"[W]e object in the strongest terms possible to the Section’s unlicensed use of NALP’s research terms and definitions in its plan to collect student record level data directly from the schools. The ABA may well decide that it should survey schools directly about what happens to their students when they complete their legal education, but in order to do so the ABA must develop its own survey instrument and research terms. "

I missed this part somehow. What an astonishingly intellectually dishonest statement. They want to patent surveys of basica variables like "employed?" "type of employment?" "bar passage required?" . . .

Posted by: anon | Jul 31, 2011 3:58:45 PM

And, exactly why is it that "public pressure on legal education to increase transparency is intense"? Because the NALP has done such a sterling job for the last thirty years?

Posted by: Jack Olson | Aug 1, 2011 9:05:12 AM

"successfully undertaken for the last 37 years"

Actually, the NALP is a corrupt organization which has *intentionally* allowed the manipulation of the data (along with its erstwhile partners in crime, the ABA and the law "schools") - that is precisely why the overwhelming majority of the "profession" is in such a ruinous mess - in order to enrich precious few at the tremendous expense of a great many more.

If the NALP and ABA were incinerated in the fires of hell (along with their law school and mega-firm masters)...it would be a start.

Posted by: sc721 | Aug 1, 2011 10:21:10 AM

Wow, welcome to the real world NALP. Competition is a good thing. The lack of competition for collecting and providing this data is probably one of the reasons why the current data is so terrible. It would be great if the NALP would focus its efforts on providing better information....

Posted by: annon | Aug 1, 2011 1:20:46 PM

Dear NALP,

If you were doing a good job collecting and reporting the data, we would not have long running arguments about the validity of law school reported employment data.

You thought that allowing schools to game the system would keep you safe and in the driver's seat. Instead, your assistance with teh game playing has marked you as part of the problem. Now you're going to pay for that.

Good.

Posted by: Greg Q | Aug 2, 2011 3:11:34 PM

NALP HAS done a great job - just because schools have not shared their own NALP data in a transparent way doesn't mean that NALP isn't providing good, transparent NATIONAL and REGIONAL data. Yes, the ABA should have stepped in long ago to force that transparency, but if the ABA forces double collection, we will get less data on trends (the ABA, and especially this particular Council) are NOT good social scientists. CSO administrators are hoping for a compromise - they will only give the ABA differeent data if it comes to that, and everyone will lose for that, when there is no one providing trend data - in the public OR private sectors.

As for the validity of data collected, look at individual schools for that. We're a self-regulating profession, and if the ABA has thus far refused to sanction the liars, again, that is on them. Not to mention that heaven forbid any individual prospective student look deeply enough at numbers to see how many people were working in either end of the bi-modal curve. But again, that comes to individual law school transparency and also individual personal responsibility.

Posted by: Annie | Aug 6, 2011 11:43:47 PM