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Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

WSJ: Law School Job Data Shows Wide Gulf Between Elite and the Rest

Wall Street Journal, Law School Job Data Shows Wide Gulf Between Elite and the Rest:

In an unforgiving job market, graduates of top-ranked law schools have had a far easier time landing full-time employment than their peers from the lower ranks. That much is obvious. But how much easier?

A Law Blog analysis of the latest American Bar Association employment data paired with the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings suggests the gulf between the top 50 schools and the rest of the bunch is huge.

The unemployment rate for graduates from the top 50 is more than 60% lower than the unemployment rate for everybody else. About 5% of class of 2013 graduates from a top 50 school were still looking for work in February, about nine months after spring 2013 graduation. Meanwhile, 14% of graduates of schools below the top 50 were searching for a job. ...

Also striking are the differences in the percentage of graduates employed in long-term, full-time jobs for which passage of the bar exam was required. Roughly 75% of graduates from top 50 schools landed that kind of job. For all other graduates, the rate was 50%.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2014/05/wsj-law-school.html

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Comments

There are 200 law schools, so 150 of them (75 percent) are below the top 50. How about the schools ranked 26 to 50 vs. the schools ranked 51 to 75?

Posted by: Anon | May 4, 2014 2:28:01 PM

The latest jobless rate for high school graduates not enrolled in college is 31%. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/hsgec.nr0.htm . Are law school graduates really the ones we should be worried about? The same goes for recent college graduates. They all seem to think there's something wrong if they don't have a job lined up before they finish their degree. It would be better if students put their energy into their education and didn't act as if degree equals job offer.

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | May 5, 2014 7:16:56 AM

"The latest jobless rate for high school graduates not enrolled in college is 31%. "

Well, Eric, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's recent release "Measuring Student Debt and Its Performance," the percentage of student loans that are actually in active, full, and timely repayment isn't much higher than 31%, and of course, real starting salaries for college grads are barely 10% higher than they were in 1978, while the average cost of college has increased some 650% since that time. Sounds like a sustainable trend to me.

"They all think there's something wrong if they don't have a job lined up before they finish their degree."

Someday we're going to have to talk about the joys of long-term unemployment, which studies have found to be even more of an impediment to obtaining work than having a misdemeanor on one's record. And guess what? Long-term unemployment kicks in after just six months.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | May 5, 2014 8:15:52 AM

The high school graduates not enrolled in college don't have a median 140k in non-dischargeable education debt. Any law graduate with that level of debt who isn't worried about having a job lined up after graduation (or within 9 months of graduation as the ABA data actually reflects) is either independently wealthy or delusional.

Of course, taking the comparison in the way suggested at all is a blatantly false dilemma. Aren't all these groups of young people worth worrying about?

Posted by: Former Editor | May 5, 2014 8:24:40 AM

"act as if degree equals job offer."

If a degree doesn't lead to a job, why are we charging so much for it?

Posted by: jon | May 5, 2014 5:45:24 PM

Faculty Lounge now has a post discussing a more detailed breakdown among the T-50. Unsurprisingly, the breakdown reveals that the 75% overall for the top 50 is skewed by the T-12.

Posted by: Former Editor | May 6, 2014 9:13:29 AM