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Monday, June 18, 2012

ABA: Only 55.2% of the Class of 2011 Have Full-Time Long-Term Legal Jobs

From Saturday:  Law School Transparency:  Class of 2011 Legal Employment and Underemployment Numbers Are In, and Far Worse Than Expected:

Mister Hart, here is a dime. Take it, call your mother, and tell her there is serious doubt about you ever becoming a lawyer.
- Kingsfield, The Paper Chase

The ABA has released Class of 2011 job outcome data for all domestic ABA-approved law schools. The data are far more granular than ever before. Law School Transparency has analyzed the data and made the school-specific data available on its website for easy comparison.

The ABA data shed considerable light on how poorly the 2011 graduates fared. We can now say with certainty that the employment picture is far worse than previously reported. Only 55.2% of all graduates were known to be employed in full-time, long-term legal jobs. A devastating 26.4% of all graduates were underemployed.

Here are the Top 25 and Bottom 25 law schools ranked by the percentage of the Class of 2011 with full-time long-term legal jobs:

 

 

School (U.S News Rank)

Full-Time Job %

 School (U.S News Rank)

Full-Time Job %

1

Virginia (7)

94.7%

171.  Phoenix (Tier 2)

37.4%

2

Columbia (4)

94.1%

172.  Southern (Tier 2)

37.1%

3

Stanford (2)

91.1%

173.  CUNY (113)

36.9%

4

NYU (6)

90.1%

174.  Detroit (Tier 2) 

36.8%

5

Harvard (3)

90.1%

175.  Florida Coastal (Tier 2)

36.6%

6

Chicago (5)

88.2%

176.  Toledo (129)

36.5%

7

Yale (1)

87.8%

177.  N. Kentucky (Tier 2)

36.3%

8

Pennsylvania (7)

84.3%

178.  Pace (142)

36.0%

9

Duke (11)

82.1%

179.  American (49)

35.5%

10

G. Washington (20)

81.3%

180.  NY Law School (135)

35.5%

11

LSU (79)

81.3%

181.  Quinnipiac (113)

34.6%

12

UC-Berkeley (7)

80.0%

182.  Southwestern (129)

34.6%

13

St. Mary's (Tier 2)

78.3%

183.  New England (Tier 2)

34.4%

14

Alabama (29)

78.0%

184.  San Francisco (106)

34.2%

15

Northwestern (12)

77.0%

185.  Florida A&M (Tier 2)

34.2%

16

Cornell (14)

76.1%

186.  Ave Maria (Tier 2)

33.0%

17

Michigan (10)

75.5%

187.  La Verne (Tier 2)

32.8%

18

Mississippi College (Tier 2)

75.3%

188.  Western St. (Tier 2)

32.2%

19

Arizona (43)

75.3%

189.  Liberty (Tier 2)

31.1%

20

Vanderbilt (16)

73.7%

190.  Appalachian (Tier 2)

30.8%

21

Kentucky (62)

71.9%

191.  Western N.E. (Tier 2)

30.1%

22

Campbell (Tier 2)

71.4%

192.  T. Jefferson (Tier 2)

26.0%

23

Baylor (51)

70.1%

193.  Golden Gate (Tier 2)

22.0%

24

Texas (16)

69.9%

194.  D.C. (Tier 2)

20.5%

25

Florida State (51)

69.5%

195.  Whittier (Tier 2)

17.1%

Schools ranked in the U.S. News Top 35 with the largest underperformance in the full-time long-term legal job rankings:

  • - 86:  Boston University (26 (U.S. News rank), 112 (full-time long-term legal job rank))
  • - 82:  U. Washington (20, 102)
  • - 80:  Illinois (35, 115)
  • - 72:  Indiana-Bloomington (26, 98)
  • - 68:  Washington & Lee (24, 92)
  • - 60:  William & Mary (35, 95)
  • - 54:  UC-Davis (29, 83)
  • - 50:  Fordham (29, 79)
  • - 51:  Minnesota (19, 70)
  • - 49:  Washington U. (23, 72) 
  • - 41:  UCLA (15, 56)
  • - 37:  Georgetown (13, 50)
  • - 32:  Notre Dame (22, 54)
  • - 22:  USC (18, 40)

Update

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2012/06/aba-only.html

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Comments

All you need to know about the worthiness of LST's stats is that St. Mary's places better than Cornell and Northwestern, Mississippi College places better than Vanderbilt, and Campbell places better than Texas.

Posted by: Jeffrey | Jun 18, 2012 10:58:02 AM

Jeffrey, actually what you need to know about the LST stats is that there are several different stats.

The main stats is the Employment Score. St. Mary's Employment Score is 66.7, while Cornell has a 76.1 and Northwestern has a 76.3. So, St. Mary's does not place better than Cornell or Northwestern under that score.

If you look at the Large Firm (101+) score, Northwestern is at 53.3, Cornell is at 38.8, and St. Mary's is at 0.8. Definitely not placing better there.

Criticizing LST for putting St. Mary's higher on the LT FT Legal rate is like criticizing ESPN's NCAA football stats for saying that Houston racked up more points and offensive yards than Alabama.

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Jun 18, 2012 3:00:05 PM

St. Mary's placed 101 out of 249 graduates in law firms with "2-10 attorneys." As Paul Campos has pointed out, this often means a few law graduates joining together to hang a shingle. Sometimes this means that the graduates will be earning next to nothing--it's basically unemployment. In the case of St. Mary's, though, I think it's possible that it makes economic sense. I understand that the school has been increasing its skills curriculum, so its graduates may be more practice-ready that graduates of other schools. But more importantly, St. Mary's grads often serve a huge portion of south Texas that has fewer attorneys per capita, but huge unmet legal needs. I can imagine that new grads would actually add value in a number of small practices (immigration, domestic relations, family law, criminal law, small business representation, consumer law...) and may actually earn earn more than graduates of higher-ranked schools in other geographic areas. At any rate, the ABA has made a good start in collecting the information--and LST was instrumental in pushing them to do so. Now we need to drill deeper and determine what the stats mean--obviously the employment rate by itself doesn't tell us enough about what is going on, but it's clear that law school ranking by itself is also not a sufficient proxy of educational value. On a related note, I can't figure out why Texas is creating a new law school in Dallas--if a new school were needed at all (which it isn't), Laredo or El Paso would make a lot more sense.

Posted by: CBR | Jun 18, 2012 3:51:44 PM

All readers of the Top 25 chart should note the 64 UVA students who are being counted as employed in full-time, long-term, JD-required employment when they are in fact still "working" on the school's own "fellowship". They're real number is more like 77%, which puts them around 15th overall.

Posted by: CD3 | Jun 20, 2012 7:45:47 AM

I don't know how the schools come up with those numbers. I am a graduate of one of the top 25, and I have never been contacted for my current employment information. I know there are other 2011 graduates that are having to work non-legal jobs who have passed the bar. They can't find legal employment. I don't think those numbers are accurate by far, at least for my school.

Posted by: FS2 | Jun 25, 2012 5:35:51 AM

55% got *full time*, *permanent*, *legal*, jobs shortly after graduation.

This excludes all judicial clerks, who don't have *permanent* jobs (1 year only), but are on their way to great careers.

It excludes executives, bankers, consultants, and government officials who don't have *legal* jobs, but do have great jobs.

It excludes people who continued on to graduate school to become a professor or a patent lawyer.

It excludes people who aren't looking for jobs because they are independently wealthy, or have a spouse who would like to support them while they stay home.

It excludes people who didn't respond to the survey.

When you add it all up, 80% actually had good jobs at graduation, and less than 2% had non-professional jobs (i.e., the lawyer-waiter of legend). 9% were unemployed and seeking. 4% Were unknown. The rest were not looking for work because of grad school or just a decision to not work.

Law graduates actually do much better than MBAs on an apples to apples comparison. And both law grads and MBAs do better than undergraduates, where the best placement is 56% (in any job) for engineers, to around 35% for liberals arts majors, to only 20% for education majors.

43% of students applying to law school say the don't intend to practice law, but instead want to go into business or politics. Is it so surprising that around the same percent of students graduating law school don't practice law?

There's a great and detailed discussion of these issues and the stats on the comments section of this WSJ blog post:
http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/06/18/new-book-claims-law-school-is-a-bad-deal-for-most/tab/comments/

Posted by: Anon | Jun 25, 2012 7:13:27 AM

Keep selling the Kool Aid, Anon.

You have a great career ahead of you in Law School Administration.

Until the indictment and conviction.

Posted by: cas127 | Jun 25, 2012 8:41:16 PM