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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, March 19, 2012

ABA Releases Statements on Law School Rankings, Placement Data Reporting

ABA LogoIn conjunction with the weekend meeting of the ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar in Fort Lauderdale, the ABA released two documents:

Neither the American Bar Association nor its Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar endorses, cooperates with, or provides data to any law school ranking system. Several organizations rank or rate law schools; however, the ABA provides only a statement of accreditation status. No ranking or rating system of law schools is attempted or advocated by the ABA.

Prospective law students should consider a variety of factors in making their choice among schools. A discussion of those factors can be found in Chapter 5 (Choosing a Law School) of the ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools.

Today, new law school graduate employment data for the class of 2011 is due to be reported by accredited U.S. law schools to the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. The newly revised questionnaires were distributed to accredited law schools in February 2012 seeking more detailed and comprehensive information than had previously been required. The data due back to the Section today will be compiled and published on the Section’s website as early as June 2012.

The Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar announced in December 2011 significant changes to its collection and publication of graduate placement data provided by accredited law schools. These changes enhance the accuracy, timeliness, completeness, and specificity of the employment data.

For the class of 2011, law schools must report directly to the Section for each graduate:

  • Employment status (employed, unemployed/seeking, unemployed/not seeking, pursuing graduate degree full-time, unknown)
  • Employment type (law firm, business, government, public interest, clerkship, academia)
  • Employment location
  • Whether a position is short or long term
  • Whether a position is funded by the school itself
  • Bar passage required
  • J.D. advantage
  • Other professional/nonprofessional
  • Full time or part time

The data being reported will include the number of law graduates joining law firms by law firm size, and will report the number of students that responded to the surveys.

“There should be no doubt that the Section is fully committed to the clarity and accuracy of law school placement data,” said New England Law/Boston Dean John O’Brien, chair of the Section. “Current and prospective law students will now have more timely access to detailed information that will help them make important decisions about their futures.”

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As the ever-slimy George Washington Law school demonstrates in its 2011 stats, we now need to be concerned about what exactly employed in "academia" means, as this appears to be the latest hiding place for under-employed grads. It just never ends with these schools!

Posted by: Anon | Mar 19, 2012 3:07:42 PM