Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Law School-Funded Positions Dry Up With U.S. News Methodology Change:
[Previously, U.S. News & World Report made] no distinction between positions funded by law schools and those that weren't. Last year, for the first time, U.S. News & World Report announced a change to the methodology. The rankings now "discounted the value of these types of jobs." This year, the first full year of reporting after the change went into effect, law schools dramatically cut back on such positions. There were 520 law school-funded bar passage-required positions for the Class of 2012, up to 777 for the Class of 2013 and 833 for the Class of 2014. This year, however, the number plunged to 397. ...
Jerry Organ has more thoughts here. He attributes some of the decline to changes in reporting requirements and definitions from the ABA.
Jerry Organ (St. Thomas), Changes in Reporting and Classifying of Law-School-Funded Positions Result in Decline in Number of Graduates in Full-Time, Long-Term Law-School-Funded Bar-Passage-Required Positions:
The decline in law-school-funded bar-passage-required positions was manifested most particularly at several law schools. The top-25 law schools for full-time, long-term, bar-passage-required positions that were law-school-funded for the Class of 2014 (those schools with 10 or more law-school-funded positions classified as full-time, long-term bar-passage-required positions), are responsible for the vast majority of the decline in such positions for the Class of 2015. Across these 25 law schools, the number of graduates in full-time, long-term bar-passage-required positions that were law-school-funded fell from 676 to 295, a drop of 381 out of the total decline of 440 or nearly 87% of the total decline in such positions.
The biggest declines in law school funded full-time, long-term, bar-passage-required jobs from 2014 to 2015 were:
- George Washington: 72 (78 to 6)
- Emory: 52 (52 to 0)
- American: 40 (44 to 4)
- Michigan: 31 (33 to 2)
- Georgetown: 29 (64 to 35)
- USC: 24 (31 to 7)
- Vanderbilt: 22 (22 to 0)
- William & Mary: 19 (19 to 0)
- Notre Dame: 18 (22 to 4)
- Texas: 12 (23 to 11)
- Washington University: 12 (14 to 2)
- UC-Davis: 10 (19 to 9)
- UC-Berkeley: 9 (20 to 11)
- Cornell: 9 (11 to 2)
Update: Above the Law, Law Schools And The Cynicism Of Disappearing Jobs:
If there was ever compelling, albeit circumstantial, evidence that the practice was nothing more than a cynical attempt to game rankings rather than an earnest investment in the careers and education of their recent graduate this is it. ...
[T]he drop in school-funded jobs (though not as severe) should still be an eye-opener, especially when one notes that the number of full-time, long-term school-funded jobs requiring bar passage increased for the three years prior. It certainly looks like now that law schools don’t get credit for helping their recent graduates, they’ve decided lending that helping hand just isn’t worth it.