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Friday, June 7, 2013

ABA to Vote Today on Proposal to Help CA, NY Law Schools by Pushing Employment Data Collection to 10 Months After Graduation

ABA Logo 2The ABA Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar today is considering a recommendation from its Data Policy and Collection Committee and pushed by California and New York law schools on to collect graduate employment data ten months after graduation rather than nine months after graduation because those states report bar results later than other states. Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State) and Kyle McEntee (Law School Transparency) oppose the proposed change:

Kyle explained how the committee’s report overlooks the needs of prospective law students, focusing instead on accommodating the interests of law schools. I agree with that critique and return to it below. First, however, I want to focus on some mistakes in the committee’s interpretation of the data provided to them by committee member Jerry Organ. Professor Organ was kind enough to share his spreadsheets with me, so I did not have to duplicate his work. He did an excellent job generating raw data for the committee but, as I explain here, the numbers cited by the committee do not support its recommendation. Indeed, they provide some evidence to the contrary. ...

The committee’s case for the proposed change is weak: the cited data don’t support the recommendation, the method of analyzing the data is simplistic, and the report doesn’t discuss costs of the proposal. Worse, law students and graduates will read the report’s reasoning as focused on the reputation of law schools, rather than as concerned about providing helpful, timely information to the people who we hope will work in our legal system. The committee could improve its analyses and reasoning, but the better move would be to reject the proposal and focus on more important matters.

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Comments

Lost in the hand-wringing about declining law-school enrollments is information on where all the 1L's have gone. Gone to MBA programs, every one? Not exactly, but Bloomberg reports that business schools are seeing more applicants:

The three-year decline in applications to the top business schools appears to be over. Half of the Bloomberg Businessweek top 10 full-time MBA programs today reported healthy increases, with three citing double-digit gains in applications.

The news about MBA applications has been almost uniformly negative, especially the full-time programs at U.S. schools. In September, the Graduate Management Admission Council reported that nearly two-thirds of those programs experienced a drop in applications for the 2012 admission cycle, with at least a dozen schools ranked in Bloomberg Businessweek’s top 30, reporting significant dips. . .

An 11 percent surge in GMAT testing volume for the year ended June 30 led many to expect an increase in applications for the 2013 admission cycle, and that’s exactly what appears to be happening.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-05-09/mba-applications-surge-at-top-schools

Posted by: Bob | Jun 7, 2013 8:38:28 AM

I'd bet $5,000 that the majority of law schools are able to inflate 10 month post-graduation employment numbers by assuming that all students who had jobs had graduation still have them 10 months later, and only going through the process of actually verifying changes in employment for those students who were unemployed at graduation. Naturally, some of the students who were employed at graduation will have lost their job by 9 months, and some will have had their job offer withdrawn before ever even getting through the door.

Another clever trick here is that schools pick 10 months out instead of a year. This avoids losing all of the one year jobs that lead into unemployment, such as state court clerkships and law school funded fellowships.

Posted by: JM | Jun 7, 2013 10:01:05 AM

The various sections of the ABA each represent the narrow economic interests of each section's members. Thus, the antitrust section looks out for the financial interests of the antitrust lawyers who constitute the largest share of that section's membership and the legal education section represents the financial interests of the legal academics who dominate the legal education section. Section representatives in the House of Delegates are not supposed to step on the toes of other sections. Hence, when the House of Delegates adopts a policy, the public interest is always subordinated to the special interests. Adam Smith recognized this tendency by members of the same trade over 200 years ago.

Posted by: Paul Mapes | Jun 7, 2013 12:26:17 PM

Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education unanimously deferred action on any change to the employment status measurement date https://twitter.com/LSTupdates/status/343111062519967745

Posted by: Kyle | Jun 7, 2013 2:11:50 PM

The schools have an established record of truly disgusting manipulation of employment statistics (how else to defraud applicants into going deeply into debt so that professors can spend six hours per week in the classroom, receive six figure salaries, and still lecture us about social justice?).

The schools will game any self-reporting system (at best - rape it to death at worst - look at the historical record), the ABA will be deathly slow to catch up (look at the historical record), and applicants and alumni are left to seethe in the dark.

The answer?

Cut the schools out of the loop as much as possible.

Focus on the fact that the *ABA* and *state Bars* report about 1.3 *million* law grads/bar members over the last 40 years (working life).

Then try to reconcile the fact that the US BLS can only identify about 650k working lawyers.

Until the "Mystery of the Missing 50%" is empirically researched and solved, all the annual statistical gamesmanship in the world is so much of a pointless circle jerk.

The *huge* backlog of JDs unemployed as lawyers has to be worked off before newly graduating classes can have hope for anything other than immediate financial ruin.

To pretend otherwise is simply to continue to play the schools' decades-long game of insanely profitable misdirection.

Once the "Mystery of the Missing 50%" is widely discussed - the whole rotten edifice of law school corruption will collapse overnight.

*No one* will be betting $100k for a 50% shot to earn perhaps 60k.

Sure there will be the usual empirically void BS from the law school profiteers about how 50% of the "profession" is somehow magically working in alternative professions that 1) require legal training and 2) pay salaries sufficient to justify the huge cost of such training.

Such "people" will always be with us - like cockroaches.

Absent empirical evidence, such vaporous claims should be treated as the equivalent of being told your childhood pet "went to live on a nice farm upstate".

Posted by: cas127 | Jun 7, 2013 3:20:39 PM

Or...get this...those states could just fix their glutted systems and grade their bar exams and admit new lawyers on the same timeline as the other states. Maybe if they didn't allow so many schools to exist in their states, they wouldn't have this problem in the first place.

The ABA should not accommodate this nonsense.

Posted by: AdamB | Jun 8, 2013 5:09:57 AM

cas127

There's a difference between employed lawyers and employed law school graduates. Many law school graduates have great jobs doing things other than practicing law--business, politics, etc.--and it's thanks in part to law school.

And the BLS data excludes lots of lawyers--look at the definitions of what gets reported.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 8, 2013 12:15:37 PM

"Many law school graduates have great jobs doing things other than practicing law--business, politics, etc.--and it's thanks in part to law school."

Anon,

Put up or shut up for once.

Put *numbers* to those vapidly vague "great jobs" -

1) Specific job types
2) Specific employment levels
3) Specific median salaries

Otherwise you are just regurgitating the *ss-covering, empirically empty lies of the law school administriat - who will say and do *anything* to keep their corrupt livings intact (look at their historical record of employment placement manipulation).

The 50% to 60% employment levels of recent grads (2010 and later, when the ABA woke from its terminal slumber and realized that the vast majority of law schools were lying, manipulating pieces of sh*t) did not arise out of a vacuum.

And all the "It's just the 2008 bust" talk is a lie as well - there is a damn good reason why the 50% to 60% new grad rate approximates the 50% BLS employed lawyer rate - 50% to 60% has been the rough long-term absorption rate of the US legal industry.

But the law schools manipulated the truth out of existence for decades - to the financial ruin of hundreds of thousands of their alumni - who would have led much better, productive, happier, healthier lies had they not believed the law schools to be made up of honest men and women.

So, Anon, supply the *data* that supports your *claim*. I doubt very much that you can do anything other than hand wave.

Otherwise, you are among the cockroaches of which I spoke (actually, there is more than enough evidence against you already, Anon, as any reader of this blog knows - but lets see if you can redeem yourself by supplying actual *data* instead of empty, excuse-making hype.).

Posted by: cas127 | Jun 8, 2013 7:08:07 PM